Middle Eastern crypto exchange Rain has received a license for its Abu Dhabi unit to operate a virtual assets brokerage and custody service in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Backed by Coinbase and headquartered in Bahrain, Rain's expansion into the UAE's financial freezone will allow institutional and select retail clients to buy, sell, and store virtual assets.
With the newly obtained license, Rain will also be able to open a bank account in the UAE, enabling clients in the country to fund their accounts using the local payment network. The move is expected to instill greater confidence in local asset managers who have been cautious about partnering with crypto firms without domestic regulatory approval.
Co-founder Yehia Badawy expressed optimism about capturing more demand from institutional investors using the newly acquired license. Rain, established in 2017 by Badawy and three others, has received backing from Kleiner Perkins and Coinbase Ventures. In a Series B funding round last year, the exchange raised $110 million, valuing the company at $500 million. The fresh funding will support the firm's regional expansion plans.
The UAE has been actively courting major players in the crypto industry, making strides in enabling cryptocurrency payments in various sectors such as real estate and education, leading to increased adoption and transaction volumes. Additionally, the country aims to develop robust virtual asset regulations to attract new business opportunities as economic competition intensifies in the Gulf region.
Binance, the world's largest exchange, already operates in the UAE, while another major player, Gemini, is expected to establish a presence in the country soon.
Rain's entry into the UAE market with regulatory approval offers further validation for the cryptocurrency industry's growth and acceptance in the region. As the UAE continues to foster an attractive environment for crypto businesses, the exchange's strategic move positions it to tap into the growing demand from institutional investors and retail clients, driving further expansion and development in the Middle Eastern crypto market.