UAE based Phoenix Group, an ADX-listed crypto firm has bought 12.5% stake in UAE based Rekt Studios, a Web3 gaming firm that utilizes NFTs. The purchase agreement was approved by Phoenix board in a $2.5 million transaction. The acquisition will be executed through Phoenix’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Phoenix INV Holdings.

Cypher Capital also invested $1.5 million in Web3 Rekt Studios back in December of 2022. There is notably a close affiliation between the founders of Cypher Capital and Phoenix Group.

In February 2024, UAE Phoenix Group, acquired valued at more than half a million dollars ($577,074) in one of its related parties, Phoenix Technology Solutions B.V. based out of the Netherlands.

In addition Phoenix group spent over $500 million in BTC Mining machines.

The crypto conglomerate additionally snagged a 25% stake in UAE-based content monetization platform Lyvely in December 2023, after debuting on the ADX at the start of the month to a strong investor appetite, which saw shares soaring 35% on the first day of trading.

Phoenix Group has also invested in M2 the latest crypto exchange to receive a license in UAE from ADGM.

About Phoenix: The company owns 23 businesses and nine crypto mining facilities in the US, Canada, CIS, and the UAE, with a USD 2 bn crypto mining farm in the UAE, one of the largest in the Middle East.

UAE Phoenix Group, a Web3 holding group, which has major investments in crypto mining, blockchain projects, and a UAE crypto exchange M2 has confirmed its acquisition valued at more than half a million dollars ($577,074) in one of its related parties, Phoenix Technology Solutions B.V. based out of the Netherlands.

As per Board decision documents, the Phoenix Group board believes that the acquisition will increase the company’s and group’s visibility in the European market and serve as a direct marketing medium in European market.

The acquired private company Phoenix Technology Solutions B.V. is located in Amsterdam and is active in the wholesale industry in computers, peripherals and software.

Phoenix Group has been investing heavily in several sectors over the past year. This is not the first half a billion investment, earlier this year UAE Phoenix Blockchain, crypto mining group purchased a total of $567 million of Bitcoin mining Hardware.

Phoenix Group PLC, also strategically invested in Lyvely, a UAE-based platform poised to reshape how creators and consumers interact and monetize online.

In November 2023 Phoenix Group, carried out the first crypto mining entity IPO in listing on the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange.

Since then it has invested in M2 the first locally launched licensed crypto exchange out of Abu Dhabi UAE.

Phoenix Group has expanded its market presence with a crypto mining facility in Oman, and now seems to be expanding its presence and exposure in Europe.

Japanese Monex Group, which runs a crypto exchange and asset management has purchased a majority stake in Canadian 3IQ digital asset Fund manager, which was the first to list a Bitcoin Fund in the MENA region out of Nasdaq Dubai. 3iQ had received regulatory approval from DIFC in UAE to list the fund in April 2021 with UAE Based Dalma Capital is the syndicate manager for the fund expansion in the MENA region.

3IQ was also the first to launched regulated exchange listed funds for Bitcoin and Ethereum in North America. Fred Pye in an interview back in 2022 has stated that there would be new funds launched in MENA through Dubai.

Monex Group will acquire majority stake for $39.8 million according to Reuters.

In January 2021 3iQ digital asset fund, had marked the milestone achievement of 1 billion USD in the fund since it was launched in March 2020, which was a 900 percent growth from its previous record of 100 million USD worth of crypto in the fund.

3iQ recently unveiled the industry’s first-ever comprehensive suite of crypto hedge fund managed accounts through their innovative 3iQ Managed Account Platform (QMAP). This pioneering platform is not just a first but a revolution, seamlessly connecting institutions with cutting-edge digital asset alpha strategies. QMAP stands as a beacon of security, transparency, and efficiency, meticulously designed to meet the complex demands of institutional investors worldwide.

“Our long term strategy is to strengthen our asset management business, and by welcoming 3iQ to our group, we aim to achieve high growth by capturing the crypto asset management needs of institutional investors and crypto asset exchanges around the world, which are expected to grow in the future, ” said Yuko Seimei, CEO of Monex Group.

“We’re absolutely thrilled about this incredible opportunity to join forces with Monex Group,” said Frederick T. Pye, Chairman and CEO of 3iQ, “This partnership is not just about growth; it’s a thrilling leap towards realizing our dream. We’ve always been passionate about bringing regulated, innovative digital asset products to investors worldwide, and now, with Monex Group, we can turbocharge this mission. We’re eagerly looking forward to being a part of the Monex family, especially collaborating with Coincheck – Japan’s crypto exchange powerhouse with a staggering 1.8 million customer accounts. Imagine the synergy. With 3iQ’s expertise in crafting exceptional crypto-asset products, we’re poised to bolster Coincheck’s offerings, especially for institutional investors. This is beyond a win-win – it’s a joyous, groundbreaking collaboration that promises to reshape our industry!”

The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, an American post-trade financial services company providing clearing and settlement services to the financial markets known as DTCC, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Abu Dhabi based Securrency Inc. (“Securrency”), a leading developer of institutional-grade, digital asset infrastructure invested in by Mubadala sovereign Fund.

Securrency will become a fully-owned subsidiary of DTCC and will operate under the name DTCC Digital Assets. Nadine Chakar, CEO of Securrency, will join DTCC as Managing Director, Global Head of DTCC Digital Assets, reporting to Lynn Bishop, DTCC Managing Director and Chief Information Officer. Chakar will also join the DTCC Management Committee. In addition, Dan Doney, CTO and founder of Securrency, John Hensel, COO and co-founder, and other members of the Securrency leadership team, as well as roughly 100 Securrency staff of full-time employees or contractors, will become DTCC employees.

Securrency is a blockchain-based financial and regulatory technology developer that raised $30 million in 2021 from State Street, US Bank, WisdomTree Investments and others. It has worked with WisdomTree to help the asset manager launch “blockchain-enabled” funds that keep a secondary record of share ownership on the Stellar or Ethereum blockchains.

Frank La Salla, President, CEO and Director, DTCC, said, “Securrency is an important strategic acquisition that will give us the technology to drive market-wide transformation by enabling end-to-end digital lifecycle processing for tokenized assets, digital currencies and other financial instruments. By bringing together DTCC’s commitment to providing market stability and our unparalleled network of financial market participants with the sophistication of the Securrency technology, we will be in a leading position to unlock the value of digital assets and help guide the industry through its digital transformation journey. We believe this next generation of financial market infrastructure will further reduce settlement times, facilitate market transparency and risk management, enhance regulatory oversight and controls, and unlock efficiency and innovation to create an improved investor experience.”

By combining DTCC’s digital capabilities and Securrency’s technology, DTCC will fast-track development of its enterprise digital asset platform to unlock the power of institutional DeFi. DTCC will leverage the technology over time to embed digital assets within its existing products and services, develop new, regulatory-compliant blockchain-based offerings and explore use cases with the industry, including buyside asset managers, broker-dealers and custodians, to collaborate on new DTCC blockchain-based solutions.

In addition, DTCC will lead the industry’s development of a robust, global digital infrastructure by licensing the Securrency technology and offering professional services. Firms will be able to leverage the technology to transform and evolve their operating models and to create innovative, new digital asset services alone or in collaboration with other market participants – similar to how WisdomTree licenses Securrency’s software as part of the infrastructure for its WisdomTree Prime™ offering that provides tokenized assets and funds via digital wallets for retail investors and consumers.

Chakar said, “As we join forces with DTCC, we are excited to bring together DTCC’s infrastructure capabilities with Securrency’s technology to embrace a future where the digitization of capital markets is at the forefront of innovation. These capabilities will allow DTCC to partner with the industry to build a resilient and scalable infrastructure critical to the mass adoption of digital assets. Together, we will unlock opportunities to reimagine compliance, liquidity, efficiency and interoperability in trading real-world assets on the blockchain.”

DTCC also plans to provide global leadership to foster industry-wide collaboration to help avoid fragmentation with different digital technologies and standards. Securrency’s technology can address this issue by acting as a DLT-agnostic harmonization layer that promotes interoperability, liquidity, transparency and security.

La Salla said, “We look forward to building on our past work to drive consensus around the standards, controls and frameworks necessary to support regulatory-compliant digital asset solutions and development of the right architecture and infrastructure to ensure widespread interoperability. We’re excited to welcome our new colleagues to the DTCC team and to begin collaborating as a group to strengthen market stability and resilience and drive greater efficiencies, productivity, risk mitigation and liquidity in the global financial markets.”

This announcement comes as John Hensel, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Executive Officer, MENA, Securrency told IBS intelligence, “The UAE is ramping up its efforts to become a global blockchain hub.” In his interview he commented on why they chose UAE out of all the other countries globally including, USA, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore.

According to Hensel, SEC ( Securities and Exchange Commission) in the USA has portrayed a conservative approach to the regulation of digital assets, so exploring other regulatory jurisdictions they found that the UAE was a credible, well positioned young financial center that embraced technology with experienced regulatory experts from the USA, Australia, Singapore and others.

He explains, “ After being here for 6 years we have seen the landscape change and become more favorable for investors partnering under FSRA and who are benefiting from the protection of ADGM which will grow opportunities locally for us given we were first movers and have strong relations with sovereign wealth entities, broker dealers, fund managers as key stakeholders.”

Securrency entered the ADGM FSRA regulatory sandbox in 2017 and secured a Financial Services Permission (FSP) from ADGM’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) to deal in investments as a matched principal and provide custody for those investments in 2022. The license enabled Securrency Capital to provide trading of digital assets to a variety of clients, including retail clients.

Securrency had raised $30 million in its latest funding round. The funds were used to roll out the company’s expansion plans. The Series B funding round included existing investor WisdomTree Investment along with Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala-backed Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners, State Street and U.S. Bank. Prior to that in 202, The Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) had invested in Securrency, a US-based developer of blockchain-based financial and regulatory technology through its ventures fund.

The company also signed a strategic partnership with leading investment management and banking firm, Musharaka Capital in KSA, to develop a compliant platform for issuing digital securities in Saudi Arabia in 2020.

Blockchain enabled Silal traceability agriculture and food safety platform, backed by Abu Dhabi’s ADQ has acquired a majority stake in SAFCO Group, a leading food and beverage distributor in the UAE.

Prior to this, UAE’s ADQ, Silal, announced the launch its blockchain powered platform to trace the lifecycle of food from farm to fork. As per the news using the new traceability service is as simple as scanning the QR code of a Silal Fresh product through the Silal App.

Today, the acquisition of SAFCO integrates with Silal’s strategic growth ambitions and significantly strengthens its presence in the hospitality, restaurant and catering segment, leveraging SAFCO’s 30-year track record in importing, distributing and exporting a wide array of premium food and non-food products across the UAE, Middle East and Africa. The acquisition integrates with Silal’s strategic objectives and growth ambitions.

SAFCO’s acquisition is a pivotal step in enhancing Silal’s capacity to meet the market’s demand for a wide range of high-quality products and will accelerate the company’s efforts to enhance its food distribution.

Sources in the know of BitOasis’s current conditions, some of which have been affected by the latest changes, have confirmed to LaraontheBlock that on August 15th 2023, 30-50 employees were fired from BitOasis both from their offices in Jordan as well as UAE out of a total of over 120 employees. This happens as sources confirm that BitOasis is in the midst of ongoing negotiations to be acquired by India’s CoinDCX after the UAE based crypto broker failed to receive a Full Market product license from Dubai’s virtual asset regulatory authority VARA.

Launched on April 7th, 2018, CoinDCX is a cryptocurrency exchange with its offices located in India. CoinDCX is backed by investors such as Polychain Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, and HDR Group, operator of BitMEX and Pantera Capital among others. According to recent figures from CoinMarketCap CoinDCX has a Spot Trading Volume (24h) of $2,023,145.62 and holds total assets of $103,283,813.20.

In April 2022, CoinDCX raised $135.9 million from investors led by Pantera Capital and Steadview Capital, doubling its valuation to $2.15 billion becoming the most valued crypto trading platform in India.

In parallel BitOasis was valued in 2021 at $120 million receiving total funding of $30 million in a series B round in October 2021 from Global Founders Capital, Pantera Capital, Wamda Capital, Digital Currency Group, Alameda Research, Jump Capital and NXMH.

Sources also confirm that given the tough situation at BitOasis with no financial license, the company valuation has decreased significantly from 120 million and a distressed deal is being discussed to ensure business continuity and a path towards licensing.

BitOasis’s buyout comes after its MVP Operational license was halted by Dubai’s virtual asset regulatory authority (VARA) for not meeting mandated conditions required to be satisfied within 30-60 day timeframes prior to being permitted to undertake any VARA regulated market activity, subsequent to the issuance of its License for Institutional and Qualified Retail Investors, on 12.April.2023. This meant that BitOasis had failed to meet the financial and operational conditions license obligations.

At the time BitOasis had replied that they were committed to remediate all outstanding post licensing conditions of their Operational MVP license as committed to the regulator, as well as working towards Full Market Product (FMP) licensing.  The clarification stated, “We remain committed to securing a broker-dealer license, and operating a compliant, regulated platform in and from Dubai under VARA’s supervision. Transparency has always been a key value of our business – we will continue to update our community as we address these requirements prior to applying for an FMP license.”

Given the market conditions, the high interest rate environment and low valuation multiples for public players like Coinbase, it is expected that BitOasis investors will be offered shares as part of the distressed acquisition deal.

The upcoming weeks will be the teller of all, but what is sure is that the crypto exchange ecosystem is going through a rough time not only globally but in the MENA region. With increased and stricter regulatory requirements by regulators such as Dubai’s VARA, only the strongest will survive.