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.
Deus X Capital, a $1 billion family-office backed investment and operating company and Bridgetower Capital, a leading provider of digital asset and blockchain infrastructure with $800 million, have partnered to launch BridgeTower Middle East in ADGM (Abu Dhabi Global Market) in the UAE.
Tim Grant, CEO of Deus X Capital, and Cory Pugh, CEO of Bridgetower Capital, will lead the newly formed entity that is the first of many expected partnerships between the two companies.
The company which will also have a presence in Dubai is set to launch and operate an institutional grade digital asset infrastructure platform to facilitate the rapid growth of digital assets business in the UAE and Middle East/GCC Region.
The company is self-funded and brings more than $250 million of delegated assets for turnkey staking, alongside years of digital asset and capital deployment experience and resources available through Bridgetower and Deus X.
BridgeTower ME will offer turnkey institutional staking, a secure service that will see Bridgetower ME validate transactions across some of the world’s largest blockchains that it is bringing to the region.
It will also offer advanced data center capabilities including AI GPU services over blockchain networks. Bridgetower ME will produce and distribute AI GPU compute power generated from its proprietary bare metal server infrastructure and data center capabilities.
In addition the platform will also offer private equity/venture building facilitation, to support and grow the blockchain digital asset ecosystem in the UAE region, and its customizable Web3 commerce platform, to service prominent brands who are evolving products and services into digital asset opportunities.
This includes participation by large global consumer brands, global art markets, and partnerships with global sports clubs, associations and athletes amongst others.
It is anticipated the Board of Directors will utilize long-term capitalization options aligning with its commitment to the country, including liquidity events such as a public listing on the Abu Dhabi stock exchange, ADX.
“Staying true to our road map of global expansion and partnering with top companies, it’s a rare privilege to see Deus X and Bridgetower partner to create Bridgetower ME as one jointly owned, Abu Dhabi entity,” said Bridgetower Chairman and CEO Cory Pugh. “We will bring substantial assets forward to the newly formed Bridgetower ME. We have tremendous respect for the UAE business culture and regulatory approach to digital asset infrastructure and look forward to investing resources to both incubate and bring new opportunities to the UAE.”
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with Abu Dhabi to incorporate a company that is solely focused on making the country the global leader in digital assets and fintech,” said Deus X Capital CEO Tim Grant. “Our mission is to help bring about a new financial ecosystem that is cheaper, fairer and more accessible for everyone, and this is an enormous opportunity to help achieve that goal in the region.”
Arvind Ramamurthy, Chief of Market Development at ADGM said “Bridgetower ME is making exciting moves as they look to strategically contribute to the development of the digital asset infrastructure in the UAE and throughout the MENA region, by establishing their presence in Abu Dhabi. ADGM’s comprehensive regulatory framework for digital assets provides a solid ground for leading players in this sector and creates a business-friendly environment for their development and operations expansion. We look forward to Bridgetower ME participation in ADGM’s vision of technological innovation and excellence, and its contribution to positioning Abu Dhabi as a global hub for digital assets.”
This announcement comes after Solana also set up its presence in ADGM announcing a partnership to enhance distributed ledger technology and blockchain innovation.
The Solana Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to decentralization, adoption, and security on Solana network.
As per the press release, the collaboration between ADGM and the Solana Foundation will further expand ADGM’s existing offerings by exploring opportunities for joint initiatives and projects related to the development of the blockchain company ecosystem in Abu Dhabi.
Hamad Al Mazrouei, CEO of ADGM Registration Authority, stated, “Our strategic alliance with the Solana Foundation marks a key milestone in cementing ADGM’s leadership in the blockchain sector, and represents a direct reflection of the effectiveness of our DLT Foundations Framework and our commitment to the growth and the development of the blockchain sector. We are excited to partner with Solana to pioneer the future of technology, and further enhance the level of knowledge in the space of blockchain by emphasizing the value of regulation and compliance in ensuring robust and sustainable development. We are confident that this significant collaboration will lead to bolstering the blockchain ecosystem and driving further innovative initiatives in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.”
The UAE has emerged as a global hub for innovation and adoption of blockchain technology, said Lily Liu, President of the Solana Foundation. “Working closely with ADGM is a significant step forward in the continued growth of blockchain adoption in the region as a whole, and advances the Solana Foundation’s goal of fostering innovation, security, and widespread adoption on the Solana network in the Middle East.”
In November 2023, IOTA DLT Foundation announced that it had been registered as the first foundation under the DLT Foundations Regulations at ADGM ( Abu Dhabi Global Markets.
In 2023 and earlier this year in January, the UAE licensed in total 13 crypto exchanges and crypto brokers. This came at the backdrop of a more robust virtual asset regulatory ecosystem both in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as well as a heightened awareness and interest in investing in crypto tokens, virtual assets, and digital assets.
The most important question to many who are either already investing and trading in crypto or who are just getting started is which crypto exchange or broker can serve me best. The article will look into each crypto exchange and compare them to offer a more transparent mirror of the licensed and regulated crypto exchanges in the UAE.
Starting with OKX is mainly because it is the first global exchange to receive a virtual asset license to operate their crypto exchange in the UAE. OKX received the license in January 2024, yet is still not fully operational as it finalizes certain requirements requested by Dubai’s virtual asset regulatory authority VARA.
However when it does start, it will offer more than 350 crypto tokens. So other than the basic offering of trading tokens or trade pairs on the spot, margin and derivatives markets, it also offers managing of DeFi portfolios, buying and selling NFTs, earn crypto in our mining pools, and take out crypto collateralized loans.
But wait all these products are not available to UAE retail and institutional clients. So far, OKX’s approved suite of duly regulated virtual assets activities includes spot services and spot-pairs, via the OKX App and OKX.com exchange.
The UAE VASP License also allows OKX to offer AED deposits and withdrawals.
OKX also announced that it has developed its Arabic website to meet the needs of users in the MENA region.
Finally OKX is active on all social media platforms so engaging with the community is available through many channels.
The crypto exchange boasts of over 50 million users in more than 100 countries. It is currently seeking a license in Hong Kong.
Next in line is homegrown Crypto broker CoinMENA, which is not only now licensed in the UAE but was also one of the first to be licensed in Bahrain. CoinMENA offers the major cryptocurrencies on its platform, 52 in total.
It is fully operational and is authorized to serve Institutional Investors, qualified Investors and retail Investors. It offers spot trading of crypto assets.
CoinMENA already is fully operational and has been serving customers in the GCC and MENA region through its Bahrain licensed entity.
In addition customers can deposit money directly via bank transfer or credit/debit card to a customer’s CoinMENA Wallet, as well as withdraw money from CoinMENA Wallet directly to a client’s bank account.
CoinMENA currently serves over 900,000 users supporting seven countries.
Recently CoinMENA expanded its family office, investor and institutional offering through a partnership with Onramp Bitcoin. Onramp is an international Bitcoin asset management company built on multi institutional custody.
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M2 is a UAE Abu Dhabi Homegrown crypto exchange. It received its license back in November 2023 from ADGM. It was recognized as a fully regulated Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF) and Custodian and is now able to on-board UAE residents and institutional clients.
M2 offers spot trading and currently has 50 crypto tokens to choose from.
It will also be able to offer AED Fiat On/Off-Ramp: Allow the on/off ramp of AED with ease through its partnership with a local bank in the near future.
One of the strengths of M2 is that it is backed by strong investors, one of which is a Bitcoin mining conglomerate, Phoenix Group that helps M2 to offer its Bitcoin Earn Product. The product was launched in partnership with Phoenix crypto mining group and offers yields that reach up to 10.5%.
M2 has an equity investment of $300 million as well.
RAIN crypto broker and exchange was the first crypto broker to receive a license in the MENA region. Its operations started in Bahrain and it is now licensed in the UAE through ADGM in Abu Dhabi.
On the landing page of RAIN the first thing a user sees is the 0% trading fee. RAIN offers 70 crypto tokens to trade with. RAIN also offers crypto swaps.
It also is able to offer AED Fiat On/Off-Ramp: Allow the on/off ramp of AED with ease through its partnership with UAE local banks.
Like most of the major exchanges it has a mobile application, and is present on most social media channels.
In November 2023, Fasset received its crypto broker license from Dubai’s regulator VARA. This license follows Fasset’s launch in Indonesia in August, where it partnered with Mastercard Indonesia and telco giant Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison.
Fasset offers five crypto tokens to trade with.
On its website, unlike other crypto exchanges, Fasset states that it offers gold investments using blockchain technology, crypto staking and other products. How much of this they can offer with their license in VARA is not clear. But it would be a surprise if they could offer these with their current license.
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NA means not available on their website or other sources of information.
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As for the rest of the crypto exchanges and brokers that serve retail and institutional clients and are licensed in UAE, they are Fuze, BackPack exchange, Toko and Laser Digital. These four were licensed by Dubai’s virtual asset authority, but have yet to populate their websites with clear information on their product offering, fees and other information.
Fuze is preparing to launch and its CEO refrained from sharing information until they do.
As for purely institutional investors they can work with the following crypto exchanges who only deal with institutional customers. These are GCEX where the minimum deposit is $50,000 offering 50 tokens.
According to GCEX Managing Director, Mehtap Onder, the exchange doesn’t charge its clients maker and taker fees but just a trading fee.
Then there is Matrix, who also has a minimum deposit of $50,000 but offers just 7 crypto tokens to trade and invest in.
Interestingly Venomex has no information on its fees and offering, and just states on its website, that it will communicate its fees and charges via a notice.
In conclusion, the UAE definitely now has an array of crypto exchanges and crypto brokers that can offer safe and secure means to trade and invest in crypto tokens. It is left up to customers to choose which one they feel more comfortable with, which one offers competitive fees and which ones offer the crypto assets they want to trade.
Users can choose between local, regional and global exchanges to work with. But the future will bring even more. As VARA recently announced, while the regulator awarded 19 regulated VASP licenses in 2023, with 11 already operational, it will be adding 72 more in the coming months.
This could mean that Binance will soon have a license to operate in UAE, as will ByBit, and Crypto.com among others.
As more crypto exchanges enter the UAE as regulated entities, competition will surely increase and this is always a good thing for clients and users, so be prepared.
Regulatory arm of Financial Free zone ADGM tells registered companies in ADGM that they have to adhere to the AML ( Anti money laundering) TFS ( targeted Financial sanctions) legislations and policies of the UAE Federal government. What this means is that even if companies have registered in ADGM as offshore or freezone entities they will still be legally bound to the UAE AML/TFS legislations which also include virtual assets.
The FSRA announced these revisions that clarify the requirements that previously appeared in the AML Rulebook, reflecting the federal regulatory framework the UAE has put in place to combat money-laundering, the financing of terrorism and proliferation financing and ensure compliance with targeted financial sanctions. In particular, minor drafting changes have been made to the provisions relating to wire transfers in order to provide greater clarity that the FATF “Travel Rule” applies to Virtual Assets.
The revisions will be relevant to all firms subject to the provisions in the AML Rulebook, including authorized firms in the financial services sector and Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions.
The amended AML Rulebook, as per FSRA ( Financial Services and Regulatory Authority) of ADGM asserts that “ The AML Rulebook is made in recognition of the application of the Federal AML Legislation in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (“ADGM”) of the Federal AML Legislation. Nothing in the AML Rulebook affects the operation of Federal AML Legislation.”
A Relevant Person’s Governing Body is responsible for establishing, maintaining and monitoring the Relevant Person’s AML/TFS policies, procedures, systems and controls and compliance with applicable AML legislationthe AML Rulebook, the Financial Services and Markets Regulations 2015 (“FSMR”), and all applicable Federal AML Legislation.
The FSRA in its amended rule book clearly states, “ Federal AML Legislation applies in the ADGM.”
According to FSRA, the definition of Federal AML Legislation is broad. It includes all federal legislation as may be in force relating to money laundering, terrorist financing, proliferation financing, the financing of unlawful organizations and sanctions compliance including Targeted Financial Sanctions. Particular pieces of legislation to be aware of include:
(a) Federal Law No. (7) of 2014 regarding Combatting Terrorism Offences;
(b) Federal Decree Law No. (20) of 2018 on Anti-Money Laundering, Combatting the Financing of Terrorism and Financing of Illegal Organisations;
Cabinet Decision No. (10) of 2019 concerning the Implementing Regulation of Decree Law No. (20) of 2018;
(d) Cabinet Decision No. (74) of 2020 concerning the Terrorism Lists Regulation and Implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions on the Suppression and Combatting of Terrorism, Terrorist Financing, Countering the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and its Financing and Relevant Resolutions.
In addition FSRA has made it clear that it will hold the governing body and senior management of a registered entity as responsible for compliance with AML rulebook.
FSRA adds, that the Regulator expects the RBA (Risk Based Approach) to determine the breadth and depth of the Customer Due Diligence (“CDD”).
The same regulations apply when it comes to Sanctions. These UNSC obligations Targeted Financial Sanctions (“TFS”) are Sanctions issued by the UNSC or the U.A.E. involving asset freezing and other financial prohibitions targeted at individuals, entities or groups with the aim of combatting terrorism and terrorist financing, and countering the proliferation of WMD.
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.
The Hashgraph Association, the non-profit organization accelerating the broad adoption of the DLT ( Distributed Ledger Technology) network Hedera globally, has today announced a co-funding initiative with UAE based Seagrass, a climate action company and subsidiary of E.ON, one of Europe’s largest operators of energy networks and energy infrastructure.
This initiative facilitates the building of the Seagrass Wallet, a proof-of-concept Web3 identity wallet that provides users with a decentralized digital identity and wallet that relates to their carbon projects.
Seagrass which is based in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) financial centre UAE holds a license to arrange trades in environmental instruments from ADGM’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority. Seagrass chose the UAE because of its position as the cross roads and stands where carbon credits are originated as well as demanded.
Seagrass aims to unlock the potential of the carbon markets and transform carbon finance, which can make an important contribution to the net-zero transition. This collaboration supports its goal of bringing together supply from certified projects with large-scale demand from buyers with ambitious climate strategies on a centralized marketplace driven by technology, transparency and integrity.
The Web3 identity wallet provides transparency on environmental, economical and project data to buyers and developers. Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) architecture enabled by Hedera ensures users will have a decentralized digital identity and crypto wallet that is compliant with European standards. This leading-edge Web3 digital wallet creates, stores, and presents digital identities with verifiable credentials, alongside the storage and exchange of assets.
The digital identity would put users who had been onboarded by Seagrass in charge of their credentials, potentially allowing them to save time and reduce costs by interacting with other market participants without having to go through fresh due diligence or know-your-client checks.
The proof-of-concept has been designed to be compatible with Seagrass Carbon Map, a live application available to buyers and sellers on the Seagrass marketplace that provides users with sophisticated data on the impact of nature-based projects and enables deep, ongoing engagement between project developers and carbon credit buyers. Seagrass Wallet is currently in testing and will be made available to clients in 2024.
Thomas Birr, Chief Strategy and Innovation officer at E.ON and Managing Director of Seagrass’ shareholding company, said: “We’re proud to be partnering with The Hashgraph Association and Hedera on the use of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to unlock opportunities in the carbon markets via Seagrass. I look forward to seeing its implementation and use in 2024.”
Kamal Youssefi, President of the Board of The Hashgraph Association, said: “As we build a vibrant innovative ecosystem for startups, enterprises, and government institutions around the world, we simultaneously focus on the realization of a net zero carbon future. Combining the power of Hedera’s DLT with Seagrass’ commitment to scale the carbon markets via liquidity, integrity, and digital access for all, it also builds value on the wider engagement with E.ON.”
IOTA utilized the expertise of Zokyo, a blockchain security solutions provider to carry an assessment of IOTA’s white paper and Token economy paper in alignment to industry benchmarks and ADGM regulatory requirements for IOTA’s registration as the first DLT Foundation in ADGM.
Zokyo Econ Lab a new division of Zokyo is dedicated to assisting blockchain companies in optimizing their token economics, aligning them with both industry and regulatory standards across various jurisdictions. Zokyo Econ Lab specializes in driving exceptional growth at the forefront of blockchain innovation, including ecosystems, protocols, foundations, and DAOs.
Zokyo Econ Lab’s first major undertaking in regulatory compliance involved the successful registration of IOTA, a renowned blockchain protocol, under the Abu Dhabi Global Market DLT Foundations 2023 regulations.
The IOTA audit assessed the alignment of IOTA’s White Paper and Token Economy paper with regulatory requirements and recognized industry benchmarks for their content. This included a proper market, product, and business overview; identification of target users and services provided; explaining reasons for tokenization; token utilities; tokenized ecosystem participants breakdown; usage of the token and it’s value for users; incentive policy, and more.
With expertise in mathematical analysis, Zokyo Econ Lab designs comprehensive token models to maximize value and ensure sustainable growth. By scrutinizing distribution, utility, governance, and incentives, Zokyo Econ Lab identifies and capitalizes on optimization opportunities. It aims to craft robust ecosystems that drive stakeholder engagement and project resilience. This proactive approach positions blockchain projects at the forefront of the industry, ready to adapt and thrive in a rapidly evolving digital economy.
The audit process was structured in two phases: an initial report to identify areas of concern and recommend improvements, followed by a collaborative workshop with the IOTA team. The final report, post-remediation, confirmed IOTA’s compliance with the ADGM DLT Foundations 2023 regulations.
Dominik Schiener, Co-Founder and Chairman of the IOTA Foundation, said: “Zokyo was an instrumental partner in helping to navigate the new regulatory framework of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) in the United Arab Emirates. Zokyo’s expertise and thorough processes helped a great deal in successfully getting the IOTA Ecosystem DLT Foundation registered as the first foundation under the new DLT Foundations Regulations, enabling us to start our next chapter of global expansion.”
Hartej Sawhney, Founder and CEO of Zokyo, added, “The inauguration of Zokyo Econ Lab marks a pivotal moment in demystifying the complex realm of both blockchain regulation and token modeling. Our commitment to offering bespoke compliance solutions extends beyond ADGM, as we support blockchain enterprises in dozens of jurisdictions.”
Zokyo’s collaboration with VAF Compliance, a consultancy company specializing in regulatory compliance within the blockchain and virtual asset sector, further underscores the lab’s dedication to providing superior compliance services.
Binance one of the biggest global crypto exchanges has withdrawn and dropped its license application with Abu Dhabi’s ADGM ( Abu Dhabi Global Market) while it retains its license application at Dubai’s VARA ( Virtual asset regulatory authority).
This comes exactly one year after Binance received a Financial Services Permission (FSP) from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the international financial center of the UAE’s capital emirate.
The withdrawn license would have allowed Binance to manage a Collective Investment Fund, under conditions that BV Investment Management Limited may not hold or control Client Assets; and BV Investment Management Limited may not deal with Retail Clients as defined under the FSRA Conduct of Business Rules (COBS).
This should not be a surprise given that recently Richard Teng, Binance’s new CEO during the FT Crypto and Digital Assets Summit, would not name the location of the company’s headquarters yet admitted that Binance’s Middle Eastern headquarters is in Dubai, while its European headquarters is in France.
He suggested that the location of the global headquarters would be disclosed when deemed appropriate.
So it seems that Binance is putting all its license eggs in one basket in the UAE, with Dubai’s VARA. Some have speculated that most probably they will receive the license in Dubai and thus do not need to have one in Abu Dhabi. Yet the License in Dubai is still not in the bag.
In early December Dubai’s virtual asset regulator came out with a statement, saying that it is continuing to asses and monitor Binance activities to strict regulatory requirements, rigorous KYC and due diligence. As per VARA, Binance FZE crypto exchange currently only holds a Minimum Viable Product [MVP] Operational License with VARA, which allows them access to a restricted client base. As such to date, Binance has on boarded approximately 180 qualified investors and institutional clients.
As per Reuters, the exchange deemed it unnecessary given the reassessment of global licensing needs.
Binance’s custodial license application within ADGM is still active until May 2024.
Binance is not the only crypto exchange to have withdrawn its license in ADGM, BitOasis also withdrew its license in ADGM, as has DEX.
This comes after M2 became a fully licensed crypto exchange from Abu Dhabi UAE which can offer retail clients crypto exchange services.
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.