The world's largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance has been given a crypto-asset service provider license by Bahrain's central bank, its first such license in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the company and the bank said on Tuesday.
"The license from Bahrain is a milestone in our journey to being fully licensed and regulated around the world," said Binance Chief Executive Officer CEO Changpeng Zhao in a joint statement with Bahraini authorities.
The regulatory requirements will "protect users with strong anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing policies," he added.
Financial regulators across the world have targeted Binance, with some banning the platform from certain activities and others warning consumers that it was unlicensed to operate in their jurisdictions.
The license permits crypto-asset trading, custodial services, and portfolio management, the statement said.
Binance is also building its presence in the Gulf neighbor the United Arab Emirates.
In December it said it was working with Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) to help set up an international virtual asset ecosystem there and assist with the development of virtual asset regulations.
Dubai, one of the UAE's seven emirates, last week adopted its first law governing virtual assets and established a regulator to oversee the sector.