UAE FAB bank, (First Abu Dhabi Bank), has announced the successful completion of its J.P Morgan’s Coin blockchain based cross border payments.

Coin systems support digital solutions on proprietary blockchain network to enable instant transfer and settlement of value on a permissioned distributed ledger.  The pilot phase, executed seamlessly and within satisfactory response times, have demonstrated the capabilities and potential of blockchain technology in enhancing cross-border payment solutions.

FAB’s achievement through collaboration with Onyx by J.P. Morgan, is a demonstration of the bank’s commitment to leveraging cutting-edge technologies to provide innovative solutions to its clients around payments space and particularly cross border payments domain.  Looking ahead, FAB’s Global Transaction Banking business plans to explore further opportunities using J.P. Morgan’s Coin Systems.

Bahrain’s ABC Bank was the first bank to actually go live with Coin System built on Onyx by J.P Morgan, after two years of piloting.

UAE base M2, a crypto exchange, custodian, and investment platform for crypto investors has officially launched its international platform, and is offering its first product M2 Earn, that provides yields of up to 10.5% on Bitcoin and Ethereum.

The M2 Earn product available at launch by M2, provides up to 10.5% yield on Bitcoin and Ethereum and investors can calculate their investment yields over a preferred timeframe by using the Earn calculator featured in the app.  M2 investment products and the app have been inspired by extensive industry benchmarking and mirror the rigorous systems of investment banking which are now being applied to the digital asset sector.

Stefan Kimmel, M2, CEO, said: “The arrival of M2 group gives institutional investors, family wealth offices and retail investors the invitation they have been looking for to confidently and securely invest in the fast-growing digital asset sector. The first decade of crypto was marked by the introduction of Bitcoin and the highs and lows of a volatile asset class with a heavy focus on speculation. M2 has been built to give experienced investors exposure to the digital asset sector by offering market leading yields that are based on real returns.”

As per the press release, M2 has to date obtained a license from The Securities Commission of Bahamas (SCB) as a Digital Assets Business and M2 Limited and M2 Custody Limited (M2 ADGM) a Financial Services Permission from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of the ADGM as a Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF) and for Providing Custody.  Combined, the regulatory bodies offer the most comprehensive and progressive regulatory frameworks for digital assets in the world. Additionally, M2 has initiated licenses in several jurisdictions globally.

The M2 user experience has been designed by investors for investors and aims to eliminate the barriers slowing them down, features available on M2 at launch include:

  • Calculate the Real Yield – the M2 Earn calculator allows investors to easily evaluate what level of returns they can anticipate over 30, 60, 90 days. The Earn calculation you see is the real yield.
  • Set and Earn– The institutional grade Smart Trading features on M2 allows users to execute large buy and sell orders seamlessly, reducing transaction costs and saving users time.
  • Security beyond banking benchmarks – M2 security systems have been designed by cybersecurity experts who operate at the highest-level and all protocols are externally audited.
  • Global Community Support – The M2 support team provides coverage across multiple time zones ensuring 24-hour support for customers.

Marking the arrival of M2, the MMX token (ERC20) will be available to users and feature at the core of the M2 experience. The MMX token is designed to provide onboarded clients with specialized access to specific products and services within the M2 ecosystem that will include the ability to boost yields for M2 earn products (MMX tokens used to boost yields will be burned by M2, making it deflationary). The MMX token will also provide advanced access to new yield products and new digital asset listings. 

M2 plans to make the MMX token available on both centralized and decentralized secondary marketplaces. The token’s primary purpose is to enhance users’ experience of the M2 ecosystem and is not intended to serve as an investment vehicle or represent an ownership stake in M2. 

MMX will be freely transferable on the Ethereum blockchain. Provided users meet the M2 onboarding requirements, MMX tokens can be exchanged for other virtual assets and fiat currency, depending on the user’s needs. The M2 platform enables fast and secure trading of digital assets for fiat, fiat for digital assets, and digital assets for other digital assets, as well as offering high yield earn products. Visit

UAE based HAYVN Pay an AC Holding Limited Dubai, offering,  digital asset-focused financial institution delivering Trading, Custody, Asset Management and Research services has processed over 22 000 cryptocurrency transactions to date in 2023.

As per HAYVN linkedIn post, “The market demands a payment platform that is accessible, regulated, affordable and efficient.”

The post adds, “HAYVN Pay is a regulation and technology-led business. We currently meet and exceed the requirements of several payment regulators and will continue to lead the integration of cryptocurrency into the traditional payments ecosystem.”

Prior to this announcement, HAYVN announced that it had received obtained initial approval from the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) in Dubai. HAYVN will now undertake the in-depth process of applying for a Virtual Asset Service Provider License, in accordance with VARA requirements.

The initial approval affirms HAYVN’s commitment to strengthening its presence throughout the by ensuring firm commitment to regulatory compliance in the region, which remains a core territory for HAYVN.

At the time CEO of HAYVN, Christopher Flinos stated, “We are delighted to have met the requirements for our initial approval from VARA and look forward to being part of VARA’s regulatory framework. VARA regulation solidifies our position as the trusted cryptocurrency provider regionally. This is a core market of ours, and our regulatory strength here further supports our broader GCC business. We are proud to be a regulation-led firm, committed to upholding the highest standards of regulatory compliance, as we continue to expand our presence and contribute to the growth of the digital asset ecosystem here in the UAE.”

UAE Enjinstarter launched in 2021 as a Launchpad, incubator, crowd funding, and advisory platform for Web3 metaverse, gaming, entertainment and impact and sustainable projects has announced the launch of AYA, ( means miracle in Arabic) dedicated to empowering innovators to tackle climate challenges.

“MENA is at the forefront of climate change, with temperatures expected to rise by 2.5 degrees by 2050. The UAE is emerging as a global leader in sustainability and Web3, attracting builders, investors, and climate warriors,” says Prakash Somosundram, our CEO.

With a focus on areas like reforestation, mangrove conservation, and sustainable agriculture, AYA aims to bridge the climate financing gap, offering a platform for high-impact startups to access innovative technologies, raise funds, and leverage tokenized carbon credits.

At the beginning of 2023, Enjinstarter appointed Vasseh Ahmed as the new Managing Director to lead the Web3 efforts in the MENA region. Vasseh spoke with LaraontheBlock discussing Enjinstarter’s plans to help companies reach their Web3 ambitions while positioning Enjinstarter as the go to provider for impact and sustainability projects.

In the interview Ahmed states, “Web3 has a major role to play in addressing the climate crisis. Carbon credits, in particular, can benefit from Web3’s underlying technology to increase transparency and accessibility. We want to support projects that are looking for ways to shift incentives away from exploitation and toward preservation and regeneration.”

In May 2023 EnjinStarter MENA, a web3 Launchpad and incubator, became the first Launchpad globally to receive initial approval by Dubai’s virtual asset regulatory authority.

UAE based Solarix Ventures is seeking to invest in Web3 technology entities and will be participatiog at the Abu Dhabi Family office Summit on the 23rd of November 2023.

UAE based Phoenix Group has sold 10% of its company shares to Abu Dhabi conglomerate International Holding Company’s subsidiary.

IHC’s wholly owned unit, International Tech Group, has entered into a definitive agreement to buy 10% stake in Phoenix Group, according to a disclosure on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX).

The company is currently completing all required procedures and obtaining regulatory approvals to complete the transaction, the disclosure noted.

This announcement comes at the heels of an agreement between Muscat-based Green Data City and Phoenix Group to develop a $300 million crypto-mining farm in Oman. The 150-megawatt farm, which will be one of the largest crypto-mining data centers in the region, will be installed in Green Data City, the entities said in a joint statement. The farm is expected to be fully operational by the second quarter of next year.

Pheonix Group had announced on several occasions that it was seeking to have an IPO ( Initial Public Offering). With the 10% acquisition by IHC this could well put the IPO on hold.

Phoenix provides crypto-mining equipment distribution and hosting services. The company has a portfolio of mining facilities in the Middle East, Europe, the US, and Canada.

In the first half (H1) of 2023, IHC  generated net profits valued at AED 10.39 billion, up from AED 10.35 billion during the same period a year earlier.

This is a reflection of Abu Dhabi’s government interest in crypto mining. Prior to this Marathon Digital a digital asset mining entity announced in January 27th 2022, that it had entered into a shareholder’s agreement with FSI ( FS Innovation), the BTC mining subsidiary of UAE ADQ a sovereign fund,  to form an Abu Dhabi, ( ADGM (Abu Dhabi Global Markets) based company.

Marathong Digital will use fossil fule offset or nuclear to power bitcoin mining operation.

The UAE Public Prosecution is launching a forum entitled  “Financial Crimes Foresight Forum” on 11th October 2023, to discuss money laundering crimes using Virtual Assets. The event will be organized in anticipation of the upcoming International Summit on Metaverse Governance and Emerging Technology, scheduled to commence early next year in 2024.

The forum aims to study and analyze trends in financial crimes and explore proactive preventive measures based on modern and future global trends. It also seeks to explore the future of financial crimes in all its forms and delve into in-depth research to present them as topics for the upcoming International Summit on Metaverse Governance and Emerging Technology.

The forum presents an opportunity for exchanging experiences and enhancing awareness and commitment to combating various forms of financial crimes, especially those based on virtual assets. Experts will discuss the evolution of financial crimes related to virtual assets to shed light on achieving a balance between technological advancements and financial security guarantees. Moreover, it aims to develop scenarios for future information security challenges in the financial and banking sectors and the cyber risks they may face.

The forum will host a select group of speakers from the UAE Public Prosecution, the Securities and Commodities Authority, the Cyber Security Council, the Executive Office for Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing, the UAE Financial Information Unit, the Dubai Police General Headquarters, the Economic Security Center of Dubai, the Dubai Public Prosecution, and the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority of Dubai.

UAE based Blockchain, VR, NFT enabled physical theme park builder has received millions of dollars in investment from KSA’s sovereign fund backed Riyadh Seasons. The majority of the $55million raised came from Riyadh Seasons. U.S. based Galaxy Interactive, venture capital firm focused on gaming, led the latest funding round, which includes other international investors.

Founded by Alexander Heller in 2020, Hyperspace is building physical theme park attractions that are blockchain-enabled and extended reality-native, with it making use of cutting-edge emerging technologies, spatial compute layers, real life virtual effects, and non-fungible token (NFT) projects

Heller sees them as physical front ends to the metaverse, with visitors to these venues making use of the developed technologies to access everything from surreal-istic playgrounds and immersive neighborhoods, to virtual production stages containing holographic super cars and high-end digital fashion.

HyperSpace had raised $11 million in equity in 2021 allowing it to scale its operations. At the time Heller noted, “In a world where blockchain, spatial computing, digital identity, and growth in the gaming and social media sector took meteoric steps in 2021, HyperSpace has rooted itself in building towards a future where these trends find place in the amusement attractions industry.”

In Q3 of 2023 Hyperscale will launch in Dubai Mall the House of Hype after it successful launched its first Immersive AYA space in Wafi Mall where nearly half a million enthusiasts paying $34 to enter its 40,000-square-foot park.

According to the Financial Times article KSA Riyadh Season, a government-backed entertainment initiative under the auspices of the sovereign wealth fund, has invested the majority of the $55mn of debt and equity raised by HyperSpace.  Riyadh Season is led by Turki al-Sheikh, who chairs the General Entertainment Authority.

HyperSpace is launching House of Hype in Riyadh in November.  The Riyadh-based company plans to expand in Saudi Arabia and beyond to the US. “There’s a big focus on expanding the business” to the rest of the world, Heller says in the interview with FT.

He adds, “Riyadh was a uniquely attractive partner, Heller said, given the importance of shopping centers to Saudis, who are also highly engaged in social media. HyperSpace is keen to be behind the push to attract consumers back to shopping malls, which have been hit by a rise in online shopping. Our parks adapt the best ingredients of video games, social media, and Web3 culture; translating them into future forward entertainment attractions.”

As expected The Qatar Financial Centre (“QFC”) Regulatory Authority (“Regulatory Authority”) and the Qatar Financial Centre Authority (“QFC Authority”) have published a consultation paper for their digital assets framework which seeks to regulate investment tokens.

QFC is seeking feedback for the proposed digital assets legislation at a date no later than January 2nd 2024 which means the final legislation will not be available until the first or second quarter of 2024. This comes at the heels of QFC’s launch of its digital assets Lab which will be launched on October 29th.

Aditya Kumar Sinha,  Head Fintech & Digital Innovation at Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority · states on LinkediN, “ The Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) and the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority have jointly released a Consultation Paper, and we’re seeking your insights and feedback on our proposals to introduce a QFC Digital Assets Framework. This comprehensive framework is being developed in phases, with phase one dedicated to establishing legislation for a QFC tokenization framework. To make this vision a reality, the QFC Regulatory Authority and QFC Authority have meticulously prepared a range of draft legislative instruments.”

As part of the digital assets legislation is rulebook for Investment Tokens. These rules define the treatment of investment tokens representing specified products, making their activity subject to authorization and supervision, and amendments to existing rules to accommodate investment tokens.”

The Regulatory Authority and the QFC Authority has developed a QFC digital assets framework designed to achieve the following objectives,  develop a legal and regulatory framework for digital assets through the establishment of a tokenization framework in the QFC that will provide legal certainty and a trusted technology environment for digital assets;  provide legal recognition of digital assets and address issues such as ownership of the underlying assets, custody arrangements, the transfer of ownership, trading and exchange of digital assets, smart contracts, among other relevant matters.

It also seeks to develop a trusted technology infrastructure that embeds the standards necessary to ensure trust and confidence among consumers and support for the framework from high quality service providers; and develop a framework that delivers certainty and promotes trust and confidence in digital assets, the market, and the service providers.

QFC authority as mentioned based their proposed framework on benchmarks in Lichtenstein, Switzerland, the European Union, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, various states, and offshore financial Center frameworks in the GCC and other benchmark regulatory jurisdictions.

Henk Jan HoogendoornHenk Chief Financial Sector Officer at Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority added in a post on LinkedIn, Our ambition is to have a solid Digital Asset Framework where real Asset can be tokenized with trusted tokenization partner and supervised by Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority and Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) .”

As per the documents the proposed digital assets framework is being developed on a phased basis with phase one focusing on the establishment of legislation to provide for a QFC tokenization framework.

In terms of investment tokens, they are tokens that represent underlying’s that are Specified Products under the QFC Financial Services Regulations (“FSR”). They provide for any person who carries out an activity in relation to such a token to be conducting a regulated activity, requiring authorization and supervision by the Regulatory Authority.

So what is the Investment Tokens Rules 2023? It introduces enabling provisions for tokenizing rights (described as investment tokens), in specified products under the QFC Financial Services Regulations (“FSR”) and certain derivatives and Islamic financial contracts declared to be specified products in Regulatory Rules.

Stablecoins, CBDCs, and crypto are not under the regulatory guidelines and as such are prohibited. As per the legislation framework, “

As noted a cryptocurrency token that is used as an alternative to fiat currencies but is not issued or backed by any governmental authority and does not represent any ‘off-chain’ property, is an example of an excluded token. This includes tokens commonly referred to as fully backed stablecoins, as these are regarded as substitutes for currency but are not themselves fiat currency or monetary instruments.”

Yet regulated token services include token validators, token generation services, token custody services, operation of a token exchange, and token transfer services fall under the activities within the digital asset framework.

In addition the proposed amendments to the Special Company Regulations enable Special Companies to conduct the additional activity of issuing certificates, receipts, or other instruments, which would include tokenized instruments. This amendment is proposed on the basis that parties conducting a transaction in digital assets from the QFC (i.e., by way of example, a sukuk or bond Token issuance) may use a Special Company for this purpose.

This comes after QFC has commenced working with blockchain, DLT, and consultancies to develop their digital asset and DLT framework infrastructure.

This week Dubai’s DIFC (Dubai International Financial Center) also released its digital assets consultation paper.

In a recent marketplace alert issued by Dubai’s virtual asset regulatory authority, it warns investors and market participants of the unauthorized issuance, marketing, and retail distribution of Islamic Coin (ISLM) from Bored Gen (BG) DMCC based out of Dubai UAE.

As per the notice, investors and customers are advised to note the unauthorized virtual asset Issuance given that BG is not a VARA licensed or registered VA issuer, nor a VASP that has otherwise been granted a No-Objection Confirmation to issue a Virtual Asset such as the ISLM token, which is being offered for public sale to interested purchasers including [without limitation] to Dubai residents.

As per VARA alert, the public sale of ISLM by BG through a Regulation D Offering arranged by OpenDeal Portal LLC – conducting business as Republic on is a potential breach of Regulation III.A.1 (such activity constituting placement and distribution of a Virtual Asset).

Additionally, under the definition of Broker-Dealer Services, such activity is fully regulated under the VARA regime and requires a VA Broker Dealer License that neither BG nor Republic have obtained from VARA.

With regards to marketing activities, given that  BG is a Dubai-based DMCC entity and marketing activity pertaining to ISLM undertaken in and from Dubai has been done without VARA approval, VARA are investigating whether there has been a breach of Administrative Order No. 01/2022 Relating to Regulation of Marketing, Advertising and Promotions Related to Virtual Asset.

Dubai’s VARA has requested that BG cease marketing activity until it obtains the appropriate approvals from VARA and introduces appropriate disclaimers in connection with such marketing.

As a consequence of the breach of VARA’s regulations described above, enforcement action has been taken against BG and BG has been directed by VARA to suspend with immediate effect any further distribution of ISLM and to cease any further issuance and/or marketing of ISLM until approval from VARA is received.

This comes after several media articles that questioned the validity of the token sale by Bored Gem and information provided by Islamic Coin.

In a blog announcement published by VALR, a South African based crypto exchange, they state that their subsidiary VALR FZE has won an initial approval from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA), marking a pivotal moment in our journey towards global expansion.

As per the blog post, “The initial approval granted to VALR FZE does not allow it to undertake any virtual asset services yet, but is a critical step as it seeks to establish a virtual asset exchange in Dubai and affirms VALR’s position as a reputable player in the virtual asset industry, committed to upholding the highest standards of operational integrity, compliance and security. “

Co-founder and CEO, Farzam Ehsani, stated, “For the past 5 years, VALR has been working closely with regulators to inform regulatory frameworks that protect the public while allowing responsible innovation to flourish. This initial approval from VARA is a significant milestone for VALR to bring our products and services to a more global audience under the auspices of a world-leading regulator.”

Blake Player, Head of Growth at VALR highlighted the strategic importance of Dubai and the Middle East, adding, “We see Asia, the Middle East, and the UAE as attractive markets with significant crypto flows. Dubai is quickly gaining recognition as a forward-thinking and pragmatic jurisdiction for crypto businesses. Setting up in Dubai provides an excellent opportunity to serve the regional market and a global customer base from a crypto and business-friendly jurisdiction.”

VALR is not the first crypto exchange seeking a license in the UAE nor will it be the last. Many international crypto exchanges including Binance,, Bybit, and CoinBase have all expressed their interest in the UAE.