Crypto derivative options platform Deribit, which has previously operated in the Netherlands, UK and Panama, is relocating its global headquarters to Dubai and has appointed Luuk Strijers as its CEO. 

Deribit has received a conditional licence from Dubai's Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA).

The Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) licence covers both spot and derivatives trading but remains non-operational until Deribit fully satisfies all remaining conditions and select localisation requirements defined by VARA.

The firm will work with VARA to complete the last formal steps in the process to enable it to officially launch the exchange in Dubai.

The company is not currently working with large institutions, such as BlackRock, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, but Strijers is ambitious that they will do so in the future.

“The goal is in five years from now that when these big guys trade crypto, they would trade on Deribit,” he said.

Strijers told Zawya prior to the announcement that Deribit currently holds an 85% market share of crypto derivatives, with $30 billion in outstanding contracts, $15 billion of which expired Friday. 

While the firm largely concentrates on institutions or corporate entities investing in crypto, from small outlets to internationally known platforms such as Galaxy and Flow Traders, the firm will also continue to serve its retail client base from its broker affiliate in Panama, Strijers said.

Institutions make up 80% of its client base, whereas retail investors make up 20%, he said.

Scandals such as FTX have concentrated institutions’ minds regarding the risk and governance needs of their clients when it comes to crypto trading, he said, which is why Deribit is focused on getting the correct licences and governance in place globally in order to meet its ambitions.

Deribit will operate under a hub and spoke model, with Dubai serving as its headquarters and other jurisdictions operating under other licences. For example, its Panama entity will serve retail and have another entity routed from Dubai. There will be a European Market in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFiD) licence, with future locations considered including Hong Kong, Brazil and Australia.

(Writing by Imogen Lillywhite and Brinda Darasha; editing by Seban Scaria)