Backpack Launches New Crypto Exchange, Receives Approval for VASP License from VARA

Dubai-based Backpack, a web3 wallet provider and the force behind Mad Lads, the top NFT collection on Solana by market cap, has just unveiled its regulated cryptocurrency exchange.

Trek Labs Ltd FZE, trading under the name Backpack Exchange, has been granted the Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) license for Exchange Services by the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), which oversees and regulates virtual asset activities in Dubai.

This license is specific to Backpack Exchange and doesn’t cover any of Backpack’s other virtual asset products and services. In fact, over the past five months, the team has worked on the exchange, incorporating innovative Zero-Knowledge Proofs, Multi-Party Computation (MPC) for custody, and low latency order execution.

Simultaneously, they have secured licenses in multiple global jurisdictions and established premium fiat on-ramps and off-ramps for users.

According to the company, the convergence of Backpack Exchange and the currently unregulated Backpack Wallet is designed to provide users with a seamless transition from fiat to on-chain applications. While Backpack Wallet users already have access to a variety of dApps and exclusive executable NFTs (xNFTs), they will now be able to engage in direct trading on the exchange within the app.

It is worth noting that VARA’s VASP license for Exchange Services empowers crypto businesses to exchange virtual assets for all types of customers, emphasizing Dubai’s role as a regulated hub in the virtual asset sector. As the world’s first independent regulator dedicated to virtual assets, VARA is a beacon of transparency and trust in this emerging realm.

VARA Spokesperson expressed, “Dubai’s virtual asset sector is fully regulated, and VARA’s core principles have revolved around establishing safeguards for market security while being forward-thinking and adaptable to innovation. Licensing requirements are rigorous, evaluating suitably qualified ‘responsible’ participants who can set the benchmark for convergence across global jurisdictions. We appreciate Backpack Exchange’s commitment to prioritizing investor protection and risk assurance, and they’ve become one of the first virtual asset exchanges to secure a full market license within the VARA regime.”

Armani Ferrante, CEO and Founder of Backpack, emphasized the need for a transformative change in the crypto exchange landscape, saying, “It’s time to put an end to the days of opaque crypto exchanges representing everything our industry stands against. It shouldn’t be normal to use an exchange with a single point of failure, without proof of reserves, or without auditability. Backpack Exchange is harnessing cryptographic techniques like zk-proofs, MPC, and state machine replication to set new standards for transparency and compliance, showcasing the true potential of blockchain technology. Don’t trust, verify.”

Backpack Exchange is set to launch in private beta for existing members of the Backpack and MadLads communities this November, featuring spot crypto trading functionality.

The exchange will open its doors to the public in Q1 of 2024, with plans to add various trading functionalities, including derivatives, margin, and cross-collateral, as well as secure additional licenses across the globe.

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