Crypto Business in Dubai: A Complete Licensing Guide

Cryptocurrency is revolutionizing the world of finance, and Dubai, the UAE, is quickly emerging as a critical player in the global crypto industry. The Dubai government has recognized the potential of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology and has taken proactive steps to create a conducive environment for crypto-related businesses. If you’re interested in entering this exciting and dynamic sector, securing a cryptocurrency license in Dubai is your first step. This comprehensive guide, which is brought to you by Bizdaddy, will walk you through the process, requirements, and benefits of obtaining a cryptocurrency license in Dubai.

Understanding the Cryptocurrency Landscape in Dubai, UAE

Before delving into the licensing process, it’s essential to understand the cryptocurrency landscape in Dubai. In recent years, Dubai has become a hub for blockchain and crypto-related activities. The government has launched initiatives like the Dubai Blockchain Strategy, which aims to make Dubai one of the world’s leading blockchain-powered cities. Additionally, Dubai’s financial regulatory authority, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), has introduced a comprehensive framework for regulating crypto-related activities. The Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) is a specialized regulatory body that has assumed exclusive authority for approving cryptocurrency-related activities.

Business Activities Related to Cryptocurrency in Dubai

When it comes to the cryptocurrency business in Dubai, there are several key activities you can engage in. Each activity may require specific licenses and permits, so it’s essential to understand the regulatory framework. Here are some of the primary cryptocurrency-related business activities:

  • Cryptocurrency Exchange: Operating a cryptocurrency exchange platform is one of the most common activities in the crypto industry. It involves facilitating the buying, selling, and trading of various cryptocurrencies. To set up a cryptocurrency exchange in Dubai, you will typically need a cryptocurrency exchange license.
  • Crypto Wallet Services: Providing cryptocurrency wallet services is another lucrative business. These wallets allow users to store, send, and receive digital currencies securely. Obtaining a wallet service provider license is essential for this activity.
  • ICO and Token Sales: If you’re planning to launch your cryptocurrency or tokens through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) or Security Token Offering (STO), you’ll need to comply with regulations. Licensing requirements can vary depending on the type of tokens you intend to offer.
  • Crypto Mining: Cryptocurrency mining involves the process of validating transactions on blockchain networks and earning rewards in the form of digital coins. While mining itself doesn’t always require a specific license, you’ll need to adhere to the UAE’s regulations on electricity consumption and business registration.
  • Crypto Advisory and Consultancy: Offering expert advice on cryptocurrency investments, blockchain technology, or crypto-related legal matters can be a thriving business. You may need a consultancy license for this activity.
  • Blockchain Development: Blockchain technology has applications beyond cryptocurrencies. Developing blockchain-based solutions for businesses may require a software development or IT services license.
  • Crypto ATM Services: Operating cryptocurrency ATMs allows users to buy and sell digital currencies with ease. Setting up and managing crypto ATMs requires adherence to financial regulations and obtaining relevant licenses.

Virtual Assets Activities and Regulatory Requirements

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This table provides an overview of various virtual asset activities, their descriptions, types, property requirements, regulatory notes, classifications, and approval requirements, along with the relevant approving entities for each activity in accordance with regulatory guidelines.

Activity NameActivity DescriptionApproval RequirementApproving Entity 1
Proprietary Trading in Crypto-commoditiesIncludes the buying and selling (Proprietary Trading) of crypto-commodities developed on distributed ledger technology applications. This activity does not include acting as an exchange, providing brokerage services, financial services, banking services, payment processing, or storage services.Before license issuanceVirtual Assets Regulatory Authority
NFT’s E-Marketplace ProviderIncludes firms engaged in providing an online platform for the buying & selling of third parties’ unique digital assets (NFTs) and facilitates commercial interactions between buyer and seller in return for a commission or remuneration. The online platform cannot be used to trade or promote crypto-commodities, cryptocurrencies, or NFTs covering any regulated products or securities.Before license issuanceVirtual Assets Regulatory Authority
Distributed Ledger Technology ServicesIncludes firms that provide database management solutions and ancillary services based on distributed ledger technologies, such as blockchain, such firms are not permitted to trade in or set up an exchange for currencies or cryptocurrencies or commoditiesBefore license issuanceVirtual Assets Regulatory Authority
Metaverse Services ProviderIncludes firms engaged in the development and hosting of digital virtual environments, which enable simulated interactions between individuals, such firms are not permitted to issue tokens that are traded on exchanges or trade in crypto commoditiesBefore license issuanceVirtual Assets Regulatory Authority
Crypto Mining Facility OperatorIncludes setting up and managing a facility housing computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems, for the purpose of the generation of virtual assets by crypto miners.Before license issuanceVirtual Assets Regulatory Authority
Proprietary Crypto MiningIncludes entities engaged in verifying and adding new transactions to the blockchain (using methods such as proof-of-work and proof-of-stake) in order to generate Crypto Assets and trade those assets on a proprietary level on exchange platformsBefore license issuanceVirtual Assets Regulatory Authority

Steps to Obtain a Cryptocurrency License in Dubai

Obtaining a cryptocurrency license in Dubai involves a series of steps. Here’s a simplified guide to help you through the process:

  1. 1. Business Structure and Planning: Before applying for a license, decide on your business structure. You can set up in a free zone, where you’ll enjoy tax benefits and full ownership, or in the mainland, which offers access to a broader market.
  2. Choose the Right License Type: Select the cryptocurrency license type that aligns with your business activities. Ensure that your business model complies with Dubai’s regulatory framework.
  3. Business Name and Registration: Choose a unique and relevant name for your crypto business. Register your company with the relevant authorities, which could be a free zone authority or the Department of Economic Development (DED) if you opt for the mainland.
  4. Prepare a Comprehensive Business Plan: Draft a detailed business plan that outlines your crypto business’s goals, operations, compliance measures, and financial projections. This plan will be a crucial part of your license application.
  5. Secure a Physical Office: Depending on your chosen business location (free zone or mainland), you may need to lease physical office space. Comply with the space requirements specified by the authorities.
  6. Meet Capital Requirements: Some types of cryptocurrency licenses may have minimum capital requirements. Ensure you have the necessary funds in your business bank account as per regulatory guidelines.
  7. Compliance and Security Measures: Implement robust security and compliance measures to protect user data and assets. This includes anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) procedures.
  8. Submit License Application: Prepare your license application, including all required documents and fees. The exact documentation and fees vary depending on your chosen license type and jurisdiction.
  9. Undergo Background Checks: Key personnel and shareholders may undergo background checks as part of the application process. Ensure that all stakeholders have clean records.
  10. Wait for Approval: Once you’ve submitted your application, the regulatory authority will review it. This process may take some time, so be patient.
  11. Operationalize Your Business: After receiving your cryptocurrency license, you can start operating your business in Dubai. Ensure ongoing compliance with regulatory requirements and maintain transparent records.

Licenses, Regulations, and Necessities

Obtaining a cryptocurrency license in Dubai is subject to specific licenses, regulations, and requirements:

  • License Types and Fees

The fees for cryptocurrency licenses vary based on the type of license you apply for. These fees can range from AED 10,000 to AED 50,000 or more, depending on your chosen license type.

  • Regulatory Framework

Dubai’s regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies is primarily overseen by the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA). It sets stringent standards for anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) procedures to prevent illicit activities.

  • Capital Requirements

Some license categories may require you to maintain a minimum capital amount in your business bank account, typically ranging from AED 100,000 to AED 3 million.

  • Background Checks

Key personnel and shareholders must undergo background checks to ensure they have no criminal history related to financial crimes.

  • AML and KYC Compliance

To Implement comprehensive AML and KYC procedures to verify the identity of customers and monitor transactions for suspicious activities. This is crucial for regulatory compliance.

  • Data Security

Ensuring the security of user data and digital assets is paramount. Robust cybersecurity measures are necessary to protect against hacking and data breaches.

  • Transparent Record Keeping

Maintain clear and transparent records of all transactions and user activities to comply with regulatory requirements.

Benefits of Obtaining a Cryptocurrency License in Dubai

Securing a cryptocurrency license in Dubai offers numerous advantages:

1. Regulatory Clarity: Dubai’s regulatory framework provides clear guidelines for crypto businesses, fostering confidence among investors and users.

2. Global Hub: Dubai’s strategic location makes it a global business and financial hub, attracting a diverse range of investors and partners.

3. Tax Benefits: Free zones offer tax exemptions, including zero income tax, making it an attractive option for crypto businesses.

4. Access to Capital: Dubai provides access to a robust financial ecosystem, including venture capital firms and angel investors interested in blockchain and crypto projects.

5. International Reputation: A Dubai cryptocurrency license enhances your business’s international reputation, making it easier to establish partnerships and expand globally.

6. Innovation Ecosystem: Dubai’s commitment to innovation and technology creates a supportive environment for blockchain and crypto startups.



Dubai, UAE, offers an inviting environment for cryptocurrency businesses, with clear regulations and diverse licensing options. By following the steps outlined in this guide and aligning your business with regulatory requirements, you can embark on your cryptocurrency venture in one of the world’s most promising markets. With the right approach and a well-thought-out business plan, Dubai can be your gateway to success in the cryptocurrency industry, and Bizdaddy is here to guide you every step of the way.