Standard Chartered’s backed digital asset platform, Zodia markets, has received an In-Principle Approval (IPA) fulfilling the pre-requisites to receive a Financial Services Permission (FSP) for OTC broker-dealer in virtual assets by Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Abu Dhabi’s international financial center.

As per the press release, Zodia Markets has chosen to expand into the UAE as the region establishes itself as a rapidly emerging hub for digital assets. The strategic expansion provides institutional investors from the Middle East and Africa with reliable access to this growing, alternative asset class, consolidating Zodia Markets’ position as an integral part of the global digital asset landscape.

Salem Mohammed Al Darei, CEO of ADGM Authority said, “We congratulate Zodia Markets on receiving the IPA from ADGM and welcome them to our vibrant ecosystem. Our evolving regime, progressive regulatory environment, and strong value proposition support businesses in the digital asset space, as we remain steadfast in upholding the highest standards. The harmony of traditional and new-age finance in Abu Dhabi with an international leading digital asset firm such as Zodia Markets that is backed by the well-established Standard Chartered will contribute to further enhancing the attractiveness of ADGM as a preferred destination for global entities.”

Andrew Price, Chief Compliance Officer of Zodia Markets said, “Abu Dhabi has already established a clear and forward-looking virtual asset regulatory framework. This early adoption and foresight have enabled it to attract innovation, talent and investment while raising the bar for compliance in virtual asset firms. It has been a pleasure working with the FSRA so far and I look forward to deepening our roots in the region.” 

Usman Ahmad, CEO of Zodia Markets said, “We are delighted to achieve this milestone on the journey to establish ourselves in the Middle East. We are excited at the opportunities this will open up for our business and this demonstrates progress in our expansion as a leading institution-first digital asset trading business. Our goal is to provide institutions seamless access to trade digital assets without compromising on the standards and controls that exist in traditional financial markets.”

In August 2022, Zodia Markets had announced its intention to expand into Abu Dhabi in 2023. At the time the company had stated that Abu Dhabi would be Zodia Markets first presence in the MENA region as it targets growth opportunities.

Zodia went live in July 2022 in the United Kingdom. U.K.-based Zodia Markets is a sister company of Zodia Custody, the digital assets safekeeping platform. Both firms share the same majority shareholder in SC Ventures, the venture arm of Standard Chartered.

Prior to this Abu Dhabi’s ADGM had granted RAIN crypto broker a virtual asset brokerage and custody service license. In 2022 , cryptocurrency platform Rain received in-principle approval for financial services permission (FSP) from Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGB), which if it is fully approved will allow it to operate beyond the GCC region and offer a greater number of virtual asset pairs.

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