UAE organically incubated, digital assets custodian, Tungsten, regulated under the FSRA (Financial Services Regulatory Authority) in ADGM is on a hiring spree.

Tungsten, according to Further Ventures, UAE Venture Capital firm, and its incubator, is a 100% UAE sovereign digital asset custodian that offers secure and regulated custody service.  It is also backed by an Abu Dhabi Sovereign Wealth fund.

As per Tungsten, “ We are on a mission to create the most advanced digital assets custody and treasury services for our clients, helping them to become self-sovereign organizations with strong mechanisms for access control, multi-tier and multi-factor authentication, no single points of failure, and advanced transactional risk management.”

Tungsten goes on to note, “Our offering will be insured by global underwriters, regulated exclusively by ADGM (Abu Dhabi Global Markets), and host its core services in a Tier IV data center with 24/7 physical security.”

Tungsten is custodian of virtual assets that protects client funds from geo-political, regulatory, and cloud risk by operating a fully private physical and application infrastructure out of the most secure facilities in the world.

The website states that Tungsten goes beyond custody, their integrations span exchanges, liquidity providers, analytics, tokenization, and more, providing a holistic solution.

The company is founded by Christian Desjardins, Co-Founder and CEO , as well as Jose J. Perez Aguinaga as the Co-Founder and CTO.

Tungsten is currently hiring an assistant Manager-Deputy MLRO.

In the advert for the position it states that Tungsten, backed by an Abu Dhabi Sovereign Wealth Fund has expansion plans across the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

The job advert notes, “We aim to redefine the landscape of secure, user-friendly virtual asset custody solutions. Our commitment is to unparalleled security, reliability, and ease of use, positioning Tungsten as the preferred choice for institutions managing their virtual assets.”

Tungsten is looking for Assistant Manager – Deputy MLRO, to support the Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO) in implementing and managing their anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) framework.

This comes as more and more Blockchain and digital asset entities launch from ADGM in UAE.

This article was updated on Feb 27th 2024. Update concerned founding members.

Finschia, an Abu Dhabi based Blockchain Foundation has announced the merger with Klaytn Foundation, to form a new blockchain mainnet.

The two foundations have submitted their proposals to their respective governance members for open discussion, with voting scheduled from 26 January till 2 February. The governance proposal submitted by Klaytn Foundation can be viewed on the Klaytn Governance Forum.

The chain merge is designed to create a highly competitive mainnet ecosystem by integrating the capabilities of Klaytn and Finschia. The two foundations will form an integrated organization, sharing technologies, services, and business networks, working alongside Kakao, LINE, and other partners who have contributed to the development and ecosystem expansion of their respective mainnets.

As per Finschia blog,” By doing so, we plan to establish ourselves as Asia’s largest Web3 ecosystem, taking the lead to drive blockchain mass adoption in the region.”

Klaytn’s robust technical infrastructure and strong presence in South Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam, will be combined with Finschia’s comprehensive service network that is popular in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Abu Dhabi.

Post-merge, Klaytn’s DeFi and gaming services and Finschia’s NFT, payment, and AI services will come together to create a massive ecosystem of 420+ DApps and services, 45+ governance partners, and 450+ Web3 resources, the largest Web3 network in Asia. The merged blockchain will also inherit integration with both Kakao and LINE messengers, creating a powerful ecosystem with over 250 million potential Asian user touchpoints.

Post-merge, the unified foundation will continue to pursue ecosystem expansion in the RWA tokenization, GameFi and DeFi verticals through collaborations with Japanese, South Korean, and Southeast Asian partners, while continuing to develop messenger-based Web3 services and the digital commerce platform. With access to every Kakaotalk and LINE user, the new public blockchain will also act as a springboard for Asia’s IT and entertainment enterprises.

“We are excited to be taking the first step toward unlocking the enormous synergy of merging the public blockchains started by Kakao and LINE, which are both leading IT companies in Asia,” said Klaytn Foundation and Finschia Foundation. “We will give our best to make this merge an opportunity to innovate and lead the Asian blockchain industry in both technology and adoption.”

In a recent press release published by Marathon Digital Holdings, Bitcoin mining entity, the company showcased its unaudited Bitcoin production stating that in January 2024 their Abu Dhabi facilities will have a total of 7.1 exahashes online.

According to the CEO of Marathon Digital Fred Thiel, the operations in Abu Dhabi UAE currently has 2.7 exahashes online and includes over 13,000 rigs energized at their second larger facility in Masdar City. As he stated, “the remaining 4.4 exahashes are still expected to be online in January 2024.”

In November Marathon Digital had reported that 7.5 exahashes would be online by the end of 2023.

Marathon Digital by December had increased their energized hash rate 4% to 24.7 exahashes and extended their lead as the largest publicly traded Bitcoin miner in North America. As per Thiel, “We continue to target 30% growth in energized hash rate in 2024 and with the recently announced acquisition of the two sites from Generate Capital, which is expected to close in January 2024, we expect to reach 50 exahashes in the next 18 to 24 months.”

In addition their new joint venture in Paraguay also continued to energize, reaching 0.3 exahashes with 2,110 miners now online and the company expect the total 1.1 exahashes to be online by early Q2 2024.

Bitcoin production grew, as Marathon mined 1,853 BTC in December, up 56% from November, and 290% year-over-year.

Thiel explained, “Significantly higher transaction fees helped December’s Bitcoin production grow much faster than average operational hash rate. For the month, MaraPool collected more than 380 BTC in transaction fees or 22% of BTC production, up from 12% of production last month. Our success in capturing the sizable transaction fees currently available to miners is directly related to owning and operating our own pool and represents a key competitive advantage of our vertically integrated tech stack.”

As of December 31, the Company holds a total of 15,174 unrestricted BTC. Marathon opted to sell 704 BTC or 38% of monthly production to cover operating expenses. The Company intends to sell a portion of its bitcoin holdings in future periods to support monthly operations, manage its treasury, and for general corporate purposes.

Marathon held $356.8 million in cash and cash equivalents on its balance sheet at month end, all of which was unrestricted. During December, the combined balance of unrestricted cash and cash equivalents and bitcoin increased from $802.3 million to $998.5 million at December 31, 2023. In anticipation of the next Bitcoin network halving, the Company continues to build liquidity on the balance sheet to capitalize on strategic opportunities, including industry consolidation. The transaction to acquire two operating sites from Generate Capital is expected to close in January 2024 for approximately $178.6 million in cash to be paid from the Company’s balance sheet.

UAE IHC Holding, which bought 10 percent of UAE Phoenix Group, a leading Bitcoin mining entity continues to spur its growth in Blockchain, AI and IoT in a joint venture with Indian Adani Group.

The joint venture, Sirius Digitech will be based out of Abu Dhabi UAE. Indian based Adani Global Ltd. and UAE IHC’s Sirius International Holding Ltd. will own 49% and 51% respectively in the Sirius Digitech International Ltd. Both partners will have an equal representation on the board of new entity which will also explore Internet of Things and blockchain besides AI.

The venture aims to explore sectors ranging from Fintech and Healthtech to Greentech, leveraging Adani’s proven track record of incubating successful businesses within its extensive portfolio.

The partners emphasized their dedication to collaborative decision-making through equal representation on the board, highlighting the alignment of Adani’s innovation and IHC’s strategic vision. In addition, they aim to go beyond AI, exploring the transformative possibilities of IoT and blockchain technologies to bring about significant advancements across industries.

Prior to this IHC  purchased 10 percent of Pheonix Group which holds investments in Bitcoin mining, as well as investments in the recently launched M2 regulated crypto exchange out of Abu Dhabi. This positions IHC not only in the realm of digital assets but now more so in Blockchain, AI, and other technologies.

It seems good news are in order for UAE based Venom Blockchain. Alibek Garcia Isaaev, one of the founders and main investors in Venom Blockchain has been found innocent of all civil and criminal charges. Not only that but he will be receiving close to a billion dollars in restitution. This closes a very bleak chapter in the Venom Blockchain history and it comes at the right time.

In July 2023, Alibek Garcia Isaev, was pushed into the center of a very controversial legal entanglement which brought a lot of criticism not only to Issaev but inadvertently Venom Blockchain, and its Foundation.

In the media Issaev was called a “fraudster” but now he has been cleared of all charges, and it is Ilya Kligman, a Russian banker that has been found guilty and has been sentenced to prison in the UAE. UAE court convicted Ilya Kligman for a prison term in absentia. According to news sources, “He is set to face a prison term, extradition from Germany to the UAE, and the recovery of multibillion-dollar damages he caused to numerous companies through extortion, blackmail, and obstructing their normal functioning.”

It seems Kligman fled from Russia to Germany for multiple financial crimes. He is noted to have siphoned off billions of rubles from Russia and bankrupted dozens of Russian banks.

One of the companies owned by Kligman, Papaya Ltd, registered in Malta (with partners such as Mastercard and dozens of payment projects), will be seized. Lawyers have already filed requests with law enforcement agencies in Germany, Malta, and the Czech Republic.

On the other hand, all charges against Alibek Isaev, one of the main investors in Venom, have been dropped in both civil and criminal courts. Ilya Kligman will be obligated to pay Alibek Isaev compensation amounting to $940 million. This sum represents restitution for all the damage caused and is part of the efforts to restore justice and punish unlawful actions.

After serving his prison term in the UAE and settling all compensations, Kligman will face extradition back to Russia, to face sentencing there.

This is good news, after many have noted that Venom Blockchain has been quiet with no investments being made into startups. Now the case is cleared Venom will be able to resume its activity. Venom on launching early 2023 had noted that it would be launching a $1 billion venture fund.

UAE based Venom Ventures Fund, invested $5 million in Everscale, a premier blockchain platform that aims to solve the scalability issues bogging down the Web3 industry. It also acquired a crypto exchange naming it Venomex after it received its license from ADGM in October 2022.

Earlier this month Mustafa Kheriba, the Executive Chairman of Venomex, a UAE regulated crypto exchange and one of the initial investors and supporters of UAE based Venom Blockchain Foundation resigned from his position at Venom Foundation.

However it seems that there is light at the end of the tunnel for Venom Blockchain.

CoinBase Asset Management, has launched Blockchain powered Project Diamond, with the execution of the first debt instrument on the platform as it prepares to enter the Abu Dhabi Global Market (“ADGM”) RegLab sandbox.

Project Diamond’s initial use cases will be for registered institutional users outside the U.S. only. Project Diamond harnesses the power of the Coinbase technology stack: Coinbase Prime custody, Web3 Wallet, the Project Diamond platform, and USDC, all connected to the Base layer-2 blockchain.

Project Diamond has received in-principle approval from the Financial Services Regulated Activity (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) to conduct the regulated activity of Developing Financial Technology Services within the RegLab.

The goal of Project Diamond is to enable institutional use of next generation financial technology. Project Diamond is a platform to create, buy, and sell digitally native assets leveraging the power of the Coinbase technology stack and Base, an Ethereum layer-2 blockchain.

On November 10, the first digital debt instrument on Project Diamond was successfully issued, distributed, and matured on the platform as a technical demonstration of feasibility to the Financial Services Regulatory Authority as it prepares to join the ADGM RegLab sandbox.

Coinbase Asset Management is building Project Diamond to enable a future where institutions can create, distribute and manage a wide range of digitally-native assets directly onchain. On our journey, we seek world class partners to join us in imagining and creating the future of the global financial system. Together, we will make finance scale like software.

In April 2023, CoinBase global crypto currency exchange,revealed that it was in talks with UAE’s regulator in Abu Dhabi, FSRA ( Financial Service Regulatory Authority)  part of ADGM (Abu Dhabi Global Market) to expand its regulated operations to the UAE.

Mubadala backed Andalusia Labs, formerly known as RiskHarbor, has raised $48 million in a series A funding round and sets up its global headquarters in UAE Abu Dhabi in ADGM ( Abu Dhabi Global Market).

Andalusia Labs aims to create the industry’s security standards, instill confidence and resilience across the blockchain and Web3 industry, and help integrate this transformative technology into global financial services worldwide. Andalusia Labs intends to utilize the funds to accelerate product development, enhance institutional partnerships, and continue global expansion. The team is rapidly expanding, and hiring across finance, business development, AI, cryptography, distributed systems, and security engineering, among many other roles.

Andalusia, valued at $1 billion, is a risk management infrastructure for digital assets. It has received investment from  Lightspeed Venture Partners led the round with participation from UAE Mubadala Capital and existing investors Pantera Capital, Framework Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, and Digital Currency Group. Other existing investors include industry giant Coinbase, Proof Group, Nima Capital, Naval Ravikant, and founders, general partners, and executives from leading global organizations.

In conjunction with the round, Andalusia Labs announced the establishment of its global headquarters in Abu Dhabi’s Financial Center, Abu Dhabi Global Markets. As per the press release this strategic move underscores the company’s commitment to expanding its global footprint and highlights Abu Dhabi as a leading financial hub for digital assets that nurtures growth and fosters innovation through its progressive regulatory structure, unique connectivity to eastern and western markets, and being home to some of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds providing strong access to institutional capital.

“Andalusia Labs is addressing one of the most significant challenges in the blockchain industry today,” said Ravi Mhatre, Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners. “Financial institutions and blockchain companies grapple with the absence of robust risk management technologies to safeguard their assets. Raouf, Drew, and their team are the first to fill this gap by delivering mission-critical risk management infrastructure that not only paves the way for wider institutional adoption by an order of magnitude, but also empowers developers to create novel applications that are inherently safe and secure from day one.

Andalusia offers blockchain solutions for risk management. The first product is Karak is a Layer 2 blockchain introducing a novel risk management infrastructure for blockchain, Web3, and global financial services, prioritizing financial security while upholding the highest standards of security, scalability, and affordability. Karak represents a new approach to securing a wide array of financial products and services for blockchain, Web3, and global financial services.

Subsea natively built on the Karak blockchain, is the world’s leading risk management marketplace for digital assets that pioneered a completely automated, transparent, and impartial invariant detection mechanism to secure users against digital asset risks, hacks, and attacks. Subsea has secured over $1 billion in digital assets and built 100+ integrations with different blockchains and financial applications.

The second product is Watchtower is an institutional security platform for digital assets. Unlike current market models that lack realism, Watchtower is creating realistic market simulations in real time with real data for the first time. Currently, Watchtower is in private beta. The combination of Subsea and Watchtower built on the Karak blockchain will provide the foundational risk management and security required to build a safe environment for the industry.

“Blockchain is still in the very early innings, and we’re thrilled to have partners like Lightspeed and Mubadala who share our commitment and vision for building the premier risk management infrastructure for the world,” said Raouf Ben-Har and Drew Patel, founders of Andalusia Labs. “This funding will enable us to continue developing the best-in-class products for our users that will unlock the potential of digital assets and drive innovation in global financial services around the globe.”

“We’re honored to build our partnership with Raouf, Drew and the Andalusia Labs team. The opening of their global headquarters in Abu Dhabi will catalyze their global scaling efforts and strategically position the company for unparalleled growth. We look forward to supporting them on the next chapter of their journey in shaping the future of blockchain and Web3 parametric risk management,” said Shaun Lee, partner at Mubadala Capital.

Recently Swiss based Copper, an institutional digital asset infrastructure provider focusing on custody and collateral management, acquired  Abu Dhabi based Securrency Capital Limited, a full-service, regulated blockchain-enabled brokerage firm offering digital securities trading based in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), making its entry into the UAE market.

UAE Blockchain enabled ACX Group has partnered with Brazilian financial service provider B3 to streamline carbon market access to Brazilian companies seeking to reach their net zero goals.  The partnership will leverage UAE blockchain ACX’s proprietary exchange technology and established leadership in the carbon market and B3’s position as the largest financial exchange in Latin America.  

ACX operates the world’s first recognized investment exchange for environmental instruments in Abu Dhabi. It caters to corporates, financial traders, carbon project developers, and other industry stakeholders. ACX provides participants with an efficient and transparent trading platform that is user-friendly, seamless and offers the lowest transaction fees in the market. Leveraging distributed ledger technology,

As part of the partnership, B3, with its strong presence in the Brazilian capital markets and its deep relationships with market participants, aims to contribute to the expansion and success of ACX’s Brazil trading platform which is targeted to be launched in 1Q 2024.

ACX and B3, both regulated financial companies under their respective jurisdictions, will seamlessly connect what is expected to be one of the world’s largest carbon markets to the broader international marketplace.  ACX’s transparent and award-winning platform will allow Brazilian businesses to transact with buyers and sellers worldwide.

William Pazos, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of ACX, said, “We are excited to partner with B3 in Brazil.  This transaction connects one of the world’s largest carbon markets to the broader network of ACX exchanges.  With our strong partners and by providing market-leading trading technology, we aim to support Brazil’s efforts to promote sustainable development and grow its native carbon market.”

Leonardo Paulino Betanho, Head of OTC products at B3, said, “Brazil has the potential to be one of the biggest carbon credit suppliers in the world and B3 is committed to boosting this market in this country by providing a safe, with price transparent, and integrated trading platform that supports the acceleration toward a more sustainable future. Furthermore, the deal is in line with B3’s strategy of developing new products and advancing the ESG agenda in a way that promotes sustainable economic development.”

Together, ACX and B3 are dedicated to promoting the growth and visibility of Brazil’s carbon market, fostering economic prosperity, and addressing climate change challenges. By facilitating connections between local and global stakeholders, this partnership sets the stage for a more sustainable future, where Brazil’s carbon credits can make a meaningful impact on a global scale.

Carlos Martins, CEO of BlockC, ACX’s Brazilian partner, said, “With B3’s market position and strong network, ACX’s technology and expertise in carbon trading, coupled with BlockC’s deep understanding of the local market, we have an invaluable combination of strengths as we establish our presence and bring ACX’s Brazil platform to fruition.”

South Korean game developer, Wemade, and UAE DIFC (Dubai International Financial Zone), Innovation Hub partner to build WEMIX Play web3 gaming community to support Dubai Program for Gaming 2033.

The Wemade-DIFC Innovation Hub collaboration plans to focus on core initiatives, including establishing WEMIX PLAY Center within the DIFC Innovation Hub for WEMIX PLAY. Wemade and DIFC Innovation hub will onboard game companies and facilitate the raising of $100 million Web3 gaming fund to  support the developers, studios and entrepreneurs.

Dubai is a leading business hub with advanced financial services and policies for fostering economic growth, investor attraction, blockchain, and cryptocurrency. Aided by DIFC Innovation Hub, Wemade aims to maintain close communication with UAE crypto-regulating bodies for making the Middle East business strategy as per up-to-date trends.

Wemade is also working on an application for Crypto Token Recognition from the Dubai Financial Services Authority, the DIFC’s Financial Regulator. Tokens conferred with this status will allow financial institutions in the DIFC to carry out transactions with them, to be used by over 4,900 companies in the special economic zone.

UAE based SEBA digital assets crypto bank has renamed itself AMINA Bank AG, which comes from the word transAMINAtion’, meaning transference of one compound to another. As per the press release, AMINA is a brand driven by perpetual change, bringing together the various ‘compounds’ of traditional, digital, and crypto banking to unlock new potential and growth for their clients

The group operates globally from its regulated hubs in Zug, Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong, offering its clients traditional and crypto banking services, and the entities will be seeking renaming in all of these operations.

SEBA Bank made history in 2019 by becoming one of the first FINMA-regulated institutions to provide crypto banking services. This rebrand marks a new chapter for the company, which has proudly been in operation for more than four years.

Franz Bergmueller, CEO of AMINA, stated, “We are delighted to introduce the world to our new brand identity. While we say goodbye to the SEBA name, we remain forever proud of the achievements made by the group under the former brand. Our brand signifies a new era in the company’s growth and strategy; we are a key player in crypto banking and are here to define the future of finance. With our client-focused approach, our years of traversing traditional and crypto finance, we offer a platform for investors to build wealth safely and under the highest regulatory standards.”

AMINA bank seeks to expand it growth in strategic hubs in Abu Dhabi, Switzerland and Hong Kong while continuing its global expansion in 2024.