Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, has strengthened its foothold in the Middle East after it received a license to operate as a provider of crypto-asset services in Bahrain.

This development, which the Cayman Islands-registered Binance calls a “landmark achievement,” is also the first instance of Binance receiving such a license in The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC). It has been granted the same by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB). This, Binance noted, demonstrated its commitment to being in regulatory compliance as the first of its group of companies in the region (which it has been eyeing for a while, but more on that later).

Changpeng Zhao, co-founder, and CEO believes that this was a milestone in its journey to being fully licensed and regulated around the world. “I’m proud of the hard work of the Binance team to meet the stringent criteria of the Central Bank of Bahrain, not just locally but globally by ensuring that we meet and exceed the requirements of regulators and protect users with strong anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing policies,” Zhao said.

This is sure to come as a relief for the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, especially after it received the ire of regulators across the world, including the UK and Japan. While it had been barred from operating in some areas, it also earned the scrutiny of others. Since then, it has been eyeing the Middle East as a prospective market, and it has deepened its foothold in the same with the license. It is also known to work with the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) to help set up an international virtual asset ecosystem to help in developing regulations for virtual assets.

As an officially recognized provider of crypto-asset services in Bahrain, Binance will now be able to permit the trading of crypto-assets and offer custodial services and portfolio management.

Khalid Humaidan, CEO of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) seems not to share such concerns, saying, “Team Bahrain has built a world-class infrastructure to support the fast-growing blockchain and crypto industry, with robust regulations and diverse talent within the financial services, fintech, and technology sectors. Collaboration with industry leaders such as Binance will further enhance our mission to establish the Kingdom of Bahrain as a leading business hub.”