UAE based Synnax Technologies, a decentralized credit intelligence platform, has appointed Luc Froehlich, the ex-global Head of Digital assets solutions at Fidelity International as their Chief Commercial Officer. He will lead Synnax’s global commercial strategy and operations.

Synnax was established in Dubai in 2023 by Founders Robert Alcorn, Dario Capodici, and Alessio Quaglini, who bring over a decade of experience in digital assets (Hex Trust, Clearpool) as well as extensive backgrounds in traditional finance.

As per the press release, Froehlich brings over two decades of expertise in fixed income, experience in scaling businesses within global financial institutions, and leading high-performing teams. Froehlich’s extensive professional background and MSc in Blockchain, coupled with his thought leadership and research contributions at the World Economic Forum, equip him to lead Synnax in delivering groundbreaking credit intelligence solutions.

Synnax is revolutionizing the credit analysis industry by harnessing a decentralized network of data scientists to predict companies’ future credit metrics. This innovative approach benefits a broad range of users, including lending and borrowing platforms, market makers, asset managers, and investment managers, providing them with financial health data critical for their business.

“Credit markets, particularly private credit, have boomed over the past few decades. In contrast, the risk assessment toolkit has lagged, transparency is still lacking, and conflict of interest remains. Synnax introduces a revolutionary approach to credit analysis. By leveraging advanced encryption, we can now harvest the computing power of a broad network of AI models to deliver credit intelligence. I am excited to join an experienced and trustworthy team to develop and deploy this pioneering technology. We’ll provide a competitive edge to traditional credit investors and risk managers, and open up a new realm of opportunities in the on-chain lending space.” – Luc Froehlich, Chief Commercial Officer, Synnax.

“We are thrilled to welcome Luc to the Synnax team,” said Robert Alcorn, CEO and Co-Founder of Synnax. “His deep expertise in credit markets and proven track record of driving innovation in the digital asset space will be invaluable as we work towards our mission of providing a more trustless and privacy-preserving framework for institutional credit assessment. His appointment is also timely as we prepare to release our first public model.”

Froehlich‘s appointment follows the successful closure of Synnax’s pre-seed funding in March 2024, led by No Limit Holdings; evidence of the firm’s forward momentum and growth. With Froehlich’s leadership and Synnax’s cutting-edge technology, the company is set to empower businesses with better information to improve their capital allocation decisions, revolutionizing the traditional approach to credit assessment and ratings for the digital asset era.

XBTO a platform for digital assets and tailored crypto investment solutions, has been selected to join Abu Dhabi’s Hub71 Digital assets, Web3 ecosystem as it seeks regulatory license from ADGM ( Abu Dhabi Global Market) FSRA authority XBTO has also appointed former Mubadala executive, Karl Naïm as General Manager of XBTO.

Karl, is a seasoned serial technology startup entrepreneur and former positions at Mubadala, UBS, and Goldman Sachs, will lead XBTO’s strategic expansion in the Middle East. 

XBTO has established a new office in ADGM which will provide a suite of digital assets products, solutions, and investment management strategies to institutional and qualified clients within the region.

Prior to joining XBTO, Karl co-founded Hub71 startup, Purpl, a digital wallet and remittance aggregator for Lebanon, and served as its CEO until November 2023. He was recognized by MEA Markets as the “Most Transformational Financial Inclusion CEO 2023” in the Middle East.

Commenting on the Hub71 selection and Abu Dhabi expansion, Philippe Bekhazi, Founder & CEO of XBTO, said, “We are excited to be selected by Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, and to welcome Karl Naïm to our team. His expertise positions us strongly for our expansion in the Middle East. Our new Abu Dhabi office will enable us to bridge traditional finance and digital assets, reflecting XBTO’s commitment to innovation in this space.”

Peter Abou Hachem, Head of Growth and Strategy, Hub71, added, “The addition of XBTO to Hub71+ Digital Assets is a reflection of the founding team’s strong leadership, robust business model and its commitment to transforming the digital asset landscape from Abu Dhabi. As we continue attracting the most promising startups to our specialist ecosystems, we remain focused on our mission to transform the UAE capital into a world leading tech hub for Web3 and digital assets. XBTO is poised to unlock the immense potential of being part of an ecosystem, propelling Abu Dhabi to the forefront of innovation not only in the UAE but globally.”

Karl noted, “I am excited to introduce XBTO’s unparalleled expertise in digital assets to institutions and family offices in the region. My focus will be on building a high-performing team and collaborating closely with the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, positioning XBTO as the provider of choice for all digital asset-related services in the region.”

Egypt’s Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank Egypt (ADCB) appoints blockchain expert, Ahmed Adel Mansour as the Head of Digital Transformation and Banking Services Development. The appointment is  part of its new phase that coincides with the launch of its five-year strategy until 2028. The strategy aims to create a qualitative shift in digital development and banking services, with the vision of being the best bank for its customers.

Mansour, who holds a PhD in financial technology and blockchain, has more than 23 years of banking experience, and a strong background in technology, transformation strategies, innovation, and business growth. He has held many positions of success, the most recent of which was the General Secretary and Assistant Chairman of the Board of Directors for Strategy at the Egyptian Post Authority. He also held several strategic positions in high-level bodies.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank Egypt (ADCB) has announced the appointment of Ahmed Adel Mansour as the Head of Digital Transformation and Banking Services Development, as part of its new phase that coincides with the launch of its five-year strategy until 2028. The strategy aims to create a qualitative shift in digital development and banking services, with the vision of being the best bank for its customers.

Mansour has more than 23 years of banking experience, and a strong background in technology, transformation strategies, innovation, and business growth. He has held many positions of success, the most recent of which was the General Secretary and Assistant Chairman of the Board of Directors for Strategy at the Egyptian Post Authority. He also held several strategic positions in high-level bodies. Dr. Mansour has extensive experience in financial management, technology infrastructure, and digital program implementation. He holds a doctorate in financial technology and blockchain.

Mansour will oversee the sectors of digital transformation, banking operations, technology, and information systems, in a new step to continue the significant growth that ADCB has achieved in a short period, thanks to the efforts of the existing team of experts and the introduction of a new integrated vision for developing and digitizing banking operations and services, to achieve customer satisfaction, enhance their banking experience, and provide innovative solutions that meet their needs and exceed their expectations.

ADCB was one of the first banks in the UAE to join Blockchain enabled UAE Trade Connect to deal with fraud in invoices.

Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, who also serves as a Board of Trustees member and Deputy Managing Director of the Dubai Future Foundation, Vice Chair of the World Government Summit, Chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, and Chairman of the Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain Council has been appointed as the Director General of the Dubai Crown Prince’s office.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has appointed Omar Sultan Al Olama as the Director General of the Dubai Crown Prince’s Office.

Olama has been committed to strong governance, effective regulation, and the provision of essential data and infrastructure positions the UAE as a prime test-bed for AI innovations. He has overseen initiatives such as the personal data protection law, the National Program for Coders, and the UAE Council for Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain. As per the announcement, he aims to accelerate the growth and transformation of the digital economy, ultimately doubling its contribution to the UAE’s non-oil GDP within the next decade.

R3 Blockchain is establishing itself more in the GCC and MENA region, with Bryan D’Souza announcing his move to Abu Dhabi as Business Development and Partnerships Manager in the Middle East.

As D’Souza noted on Linkedin, “I’m delighted to finally announce my move to Abu Dhabi with R3, where I will lead Business Development and Partnerships in the Middle East. After extensive travel between London and the GCC, the prospect of making Abu Dhabi my home is thrilling as I embark on this exciting new chapter.

He adds that he is excited to collaborate with GCC’s thriving financial services ecosystem. According to D’Souza, the GCC stands out as a forward-thinking hub of progress due to its dynamic blend of tradition and innovation, as well as a remarkable ability to execute on transformation.

He will be working to flourish digital economies and align with national visions of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Jordan, helping these countries to realize their financial sector developments including banking and capital markets transformation.

R3 will be working with Central banks, FMIs, commercial banks, FinTech, providing practical groundbreaking solutions for digital assets tokenization and regulated digital currencies, including CBDCs.

Last month Bryan D’Souza discussed his fruitful visit to Kuwait.

R3 has been a strong proponent in the Middle East and GCC region working with governments and enterprise on several projects, most prominently the CBDC projects in Saudi Arabia and UAE.

In addition the Qatar Financial Centre Authority and R3 signed an MOU to develop and grow Qatar’s fintech industry using technologies such as DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) back in April 2023.

D’Souza stated after his visit to Kuwait, “I am thrilled to have experienced my first trip to Kuwait over the last couple of days as part of a mini GCC tour. I am grateful for the warm welcome from our great partners and potential clients. The hospitality of the Kuwaiti people left a lasting impression; warm, friendly, and eager to collaborate.”

He added, “Exciting opportunities ahead and looking forward to returning back to Kuwait soon!”

OKX crypto exchange, with more than 50 million users, seeking a license in the UAE, has announced that it has appointed a General Manager for MENA region based out of Dubai.

Rifad Mahasneh, in his role as General Manager will be responsible for leading OKX’s operations and regulatory approach, and growing the company’s user base and market share in the region.

OKX President Hong Fang said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Rifad as OKX’s leader in MENA. With his extensive background in digital assets, finance and growth, and years of local leadership in the region, Rifad is a key strong addition to the team. With MENA being one of the fastest growing markets globally for digital assets and Web3 adoption, this appointment is a testament to our commitment to drive sustainable growth in this region.”

OKX MENA General Manager Rifad Mahasneh said: “I’m excited to join OKX and lead its MENA business – it’s a privilege to be a part of such a forward-thinking and innovative company. I look forward to contributing to the development of OKX in the UAE and across the MENA region, and to playing a role in helping to onboard the next billion users to Web3.”

Rifad has extensive experience in digital assets, strategy, and public policy in the UAE and is a board member of the Dubai Digital Asset Association (D2A2). Prior to joining OKX, Rifad held the position of Vice President with Rain, leading business and licensing efforts in the UAE. His earlier roles included leading Uber’s ride hailing business in the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Levant regions.

USA Everything Blockchain Inc., (EBI), a technology company that is blending blockchain, DBMS, and Zero Trust to deliver new ways to store, manage and protect data, has appointed Dr. Najwa Araj as new board member for MENA region. This makes the total number of board members five.

Dr. Aaraj has 15 years of experience at global cybersecurity and consulting firms bringing critical industry knowledge and expertise to the company’s leadership team. A premier technical expert, Dr. Aaraj earned a Ph.D. with highest distinction in applied cryptography and embedded systems security from Princeton University.

“The addition of Dr. Aaraj to the board is another critical step forward for the direction of the company,” said Michael Hawkins, Chairman of the Board at EBI. “Her invaluable knowledge and industry experience will undoubtedly contribute to our continued growth, product development, and education of the industry on the importance of next-generation database and security solutions.”

In addition to her role at EBI, Dr. Aaraj is the Chief Researcher of the Cryptography Research Center and the Autonomous Robotics Center at the Technology Innovation Institute, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Currently, she leads the research and development of cryptographic and quantum communication technologies, as well as the advancement of autonomous robotics and self-navigating vehicles.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the EBI leadership team,” said Dr. Aaraj. “The company’s innovative approach to data storage and security is addressing major industry challenges, changing the way businesses operate. I look forward to contributing my insights to further propel EBI’s success and drive its strategic growth.”

EBI’s suite of solutions includes BuildDB, a next-generation database solution that delivers superior performance, reduced latency, zero trust, and unmatched resilience – backed by a private blockchain architecture. It provides enterprises with a new and disruptive way to store, manage and protect data even as customers deploy applications that produce and consume ever larger datasets. BuildDB is offered as a SaaS application managed in a continuous delivery model and is available for deployment from AWS Marketplace.

In April 2023 USA based Everything Blockchain Inc partnered with Saudi Arabia’s Al-Rushaid Technologies (ART) IT subsidiary of Al Rushaid Group. ART became a non-exclusive reseller of BuildDB, EBI’s next-generation database powered by a advanced private blockchain architecture that delivers superior performance, reduced latency, zero trust and unmatched resilience.

Anthony Butler, the Chief Technology Officer for IBM MENA region who was based out of KSA, and is a blockchain, AI, metaverse expert has joined Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) as a senior advisor.

He announced the new position on LinkedIn saying, “I’m happy to share that I’m starting a new position as Senior Advisor at Saudi Central Bank – SAMA! As a senior advisor to SAMA I will be focused on  first of a kind applications of emerging technology, such as artificial intelligence, distributed ledger technologies, quantum, and advanced cryptography in support of payments innovations (such as CBDC, stable coins, and tokenization), transformation of Suptech/Regtech, green finance,  open finance, decentralized finance (DeFi), and cybersecurity.

Anthony Butler had spent 15 years as chief technology officer for IBM in the Middle East and Africa working in emerging technologies, with a specific focus on the application of artificial intelligence, blockchain and metaverse technologies.

Anthony is well versed speaker and writer on emerging technologies. On his Blog page he talked about the impact of emerging technologies, such as blockchain and artificial intelligence, on societies and economies. 

He also notes on his page, that he lives in and supports the development of one of the most exciting and future-oriented places in the world, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

In one of his articles he discusses the collapse of FTX currency exchange, and believes there is a need to evolve new models of decentralized finance that will mitigate risks. He adds that if a person does not own their keys they cannot own their digital tokens.

He notes, “Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is likely to hold the long term answer to much of this: decentralized exchanges will use blockchain technologies to remove the need for trust.  They will provide permissionless, transparent, exchange services where users will have self-sovereign custody of their digital assets without the need to transfer control to a centralized authority to manage on their behalf.”

Anthony Butler had also been involved in KSA Central Bank’s ABER CBDC project with the UAE Central Bank. At the time he noted in a tweet, “What is new and challenging is we are designing it so that it can be issued by two central banks simultaneously.  Many hard problems being solved and lots of lessons to be learned but exciting times ahead; and great example of the visionary leadership of both @SAMA_GOV and CBUAE.”

This is not the first major appointment of an expert in the digital asset, blockchain space by SAMA, prior to this they had appointed Mr. Mohsen AlZahrani, Virtual Assets (VA) and CBDC program Lead, who was recently discussing KSA’s wholesale CBDC project at R3 Corda Day in UAE.

While Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse was telling CNBC that the confusing regulation in the U.S. is pushing more crypto companies to the leave the country, Circle appointed its Vice President for Middle East and Africa, Miriam Kiwan.

Kiwan on LinkedIn stated, “I’m happy to share that I’m starting a new position as Vice President, MEA at Circle!”

Earlier this month, the Circle team was present in Dubai UAE at a dinner hosted by Miriam Kiwan, the partner of Raiven Capital, now she is the VP for Middle East.

Jeremy Allaire, CEO of Circle Internet Financial, during an interview with Bloomberg, blamed the shrunken value of the company’s stablecoin, USD Coin, on regulatory challenges in the United States and concerns about its banking system.

Garlinghouse from Ripple, in his interview talked about the leadership qualities of Europe and UAE when it comes to the regulation of digital assets.

But this is not the only company that is eyeing the UAE, in a tweet , Blockchain IOTA Founder Dominik Schiener stated, “It was a pleasure to meet H.E. Abdulla Al Saleh and the team at the Ministry of Economy in UAE today. It’s impressive how they’re leading their digital transformation.”

He added, “We are looking forward to bring IOTA here and create value for the region and the world.”

In the comments it was noted, “Fingers crossed for an ongoing collaboration that propels IOTA to new heights!”

Fasset digital asset exchange has appointed the former CEO of Bahrain Fintech Bay as General Manager for MENA region. Fasset digital asset exchange seeks to empower the next billion with new ways to own connect and share digital assets.

Khalid brings a track record of success as the former CEO and board member of Bahrain FinTech Bay, where he led the development and growth of Bahrain FinTech Bay into a leading fintech hub in the Middle East. Prior to his appointment, Khalid held various leadership positions in the financial services industry, focused on investment banking, market risk management and technology, where he was previously Vice President at J.P. Morgan and Barclays Capital in London.

Fasset announced a partnership with Mastercard, which has chosen the company for its Start Path program to promote the adoption of crypto and blockchain technology, the firm announced on Nov. 3.

“We are thrilled to welcome Khalid to the Fasset team and are confident that his experience and leadership will be invaluable as we continue to drive innovation and growth in the digital asset space” said Daniel Ahmed, COO, Fasset.

Khalid added, “I am thrilled to be joining Fasset at this pivotal time in the evolution of finance through digital assets. I look forward to driving our vision and building out the web3 ecosystem by creating opportunities for digital asset ownership, utilization, and ultimately empowering the region..”