On its launch day, UAE based Changer, a crypto custodian is waiving custody fees for its premium wallet clients. Changer is providing individuals globally with a reliable, convenient, and accessible wallet to safeguard and manage their digital assets.

This comes after Changer received its license from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) allowing it to safe custody provisions, technology governance, and other system controls.

Changer’s launch of custody services for the safe storage of virtual assets comes in line with an increasing demand for independent custody and fund administration of digital assets from asset managers and asset owners, as this market continues to evolve.

Changer’s premium wallet and offerings are unique to the market being the only regionally built, independent custody provider. Changer’s premium wallet brings to the market a transparent, subscription-style monthly service for users based on the assets held under custody.

As Changer ramps up its operations, it is currently waiving custody fees for early adopters, which is planned to come into effect in Q1 2024.

Cryptocurrency investors from all over the world can easily open an account via the user-friendly Changer mobile application that can be downloaded from the App Store, Google Play Store, or Huawei App Gallery, and once verified, can use it to store their digital assets.

Changer is planning to introduce additional services in early Q1 2024 which will allow its users to convert their virtual assets into fiat currencies and hold those in escrow (client-money account) arrangements with a strategic bank partner which is yet to be disclosed.

Nadeem Ladki, Senior Executive Officer of Changer, commented on the launch: “We are happy to witness the successful and global launch of Changer.ae, as the region’s first locally built, independent virtual asset custody provider catering to individuals. For widespread adoption of digital assets, users need a safe, trusted counterpart; and we are committed to investing in the infrastructure and abiding by the regulations necessary to provide that peace of mind to our global users to be a leader in this space. We are proud to launch Changer.ae in the UAE, as the Nation has a well-balanced approach to digital asset adoption and financial regulation, thus making it a great market for our premium crypto custodian service platform. The UAE is a key driver of innovation and economic growth, encouraging more investors to enter the market, accelerate growth, enable collaboration, and continue to shape the future of finance”.

Hex Trust, a digital asset custodian has announced that it has received a full Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) license from the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) in Dubai.

This follows the issuance of its MVP operational license in February 2023, which marks the final step in VARA’s licensing process, allowing Hex Trust to offer Virtual Assets Custodial Services to institutional clients and sophisticated investors in Dubai.

Hex Trust’s Dubai office was established in June 2022, and is led by Regional MENA Director, Filippo Buzzi.  “It is exciting for us to become one of the first virtual asset companies to receive this operating license in Dubai,” said Filippo Buzzi, Hex Trust’s Regional Director MENA. “Hex Trust is fully committed to expanding into the Middle East and sees enormous potential for digital asset growth given the progressive regulations, welcoming governments, and thriving crypto ecosystem in the region.”

“Hex Trust’s commitment to compliance and regulation has always been a priority. This focus has allowed us to be granted a full operating license in Dubai – one of the few companies to obtain this,” said Alessio Quaglini, Co-Founder and CEO of Hex Trust. “There is so much potential in the Emirate of Dubai. We’re excited to continue to scale our business in the region and make a positive contribution to the virtual asset ecosystem.”

The completion of VARA’s licensing process demonstrates Hex Trust’s commitment to provide a comprehensive, secure and compliant trading environment for digital asset investors in Dubai, and its dedication to help build the virtual asset ecosystem in the MENA region, which is fast becoming one of the world’s leading virtual asset hubs.

In July, Hex Trust received regulatory approval in France to provide digital asset custody services, introduced innovative AI-driven investment tools, and actively participated in global industry events. Hex Trust’s dedication to delivering 24/7 regulated digital asset support to its 200+ global institutional clients remains unwavering as the industry recovers from the bear market. Its resilient approach is a positive signal of confidence and underscores its commitment to building secure blockchain infrastructure and expanding its global reach as a fully-licensed digital asset custodian.

Komainu was the first to receive a digital assets custodial license by VARA.

Swiss private Bank Julius Baer in a recent Bloomberg article announced that it will be expanding its crypto wealth management services in Dubai UAE. This will be the first digital assets service offering outside of Swtizerland by the bank.

As per the article, Julius Baer’s subsidiary JBME will apply for a digital assets license variation on top of its existing permissions in the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DIFC). This would allow the entity to arrange and provide advice and custodial services on digital assets such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies.

This is not surprising given that in Julius Baer’s recent global wealth and Lifestyle report, it published that Dubai had risen to the seventh position demonstrating its remarkable success a a destination for the wealthy.

The city has emerged as the preferred choice for companies and entrepreneurs seeking a foothold in the Middle East and is highly favoured by expatriates. By providing an attractive tax framework, investment incentives, superior living standards, robust safety measures, excellent global connectivity, and top-notch infrastructure, Dubai is poised to maintain its position among the top cities in these rankings.

In addition in 2023, Julius Baer participated in the Dubai Fintech Summit, where Jonathan Hayes Head of Digital assets development at Julias Baer spoke on the bank’s digital asset strategy.

In its 2023 strategy report Julius Baer noted that in its strategic cycle 2023-2025 the bank would focus on scaling its business in key markets through organize and inorganiz growth as well an innovate wealth management through digital advancements.

In their stategy report the bank notes, “Over the next strategic cycle 2023-2025, Julius Baer forsaw an additional investment into technology of about CHF 400 million in total, on top of today’s investment budget, to be achieved incrementally and largely capitalised. Further to current investments in its alternative assets offering, such as private markets and real estate, the Group will explore the emerging, albeit volatile, class of digital assets, keeping a close eye on how it evolves and the opportunities it presents. Integrating digital assets into its holistic wealth management proposition will position Julius Baer firmly at the interface of digital assets and the fiat world. The Group is well-prepared to successfully navigate both its clients and its business through the disruptions decentralised finance will inevitably pose.”

This comes as the UAE and Dubai become a destination of choice for global crypto exchanges seeking licenses. Dubai earlier this year launched the first virtual asset regulatory authority in the world, and has witnessed the creation of a digital assets framework on a federal level through its Security and Commodities Authority.

DIFC has also been working heavily on its digital assets framework. In April 2023, The Dubai Financial Services Authority, the regulator of Dubai International Financial Centre,noted that it has a strong pipeline of digital asset companies and global hedge funds that are looking to set up in the emirate’s financial centre. The DFSA has yet to issue a licence in the cryptocurrency space and it may take longer for companies looking to set up a new business than for those already licensed by the regulator.

UAE – Hex Trust is the first entity to have received an MVP Operational license from VARA. This is the third licensing stage within the VARA framework, before the FMP Operational license. This means that Hex Trust can now operate under VARA supervision and monitoring. (for more information, please see review www.vara.ae)

Mohamed Reda El Sheikh, Head of Compliance MENA &MLRO at Hex Trust, a certified Blockchain Cryptocurrency Auditor, announced this in a LinkedIn post. In the post, El Sheikh stated, “The day has finally arrived. Hex Trust is the first entity to be granted the MVP operational license, and I am the first compliance officer “MLRO” to operate under the first specialized cryptocurrency regulator in the world “VARA”. Getting this done is a team effort, and without the support of my superstar colleagues at Hex Trust, I would not have been able to accomplish it.

LaraontheBlock spoke with El Sheikh to learn more. El Sheikh explained, “We have received a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Operational license, which allows us to offer services only to institutional clients”. As a result, we will soon start onboarding institutional clients for our crypto custody and staking services. These will be the only two services we offer to cryptocurrency institutional clients.”  

He adds, “As a regulated custodian, we must legally and technologically segregate Clients’ assets under custody.” 

In November 2022 Hex Trust received its MVP preparatory license and after adhering to all the requirements and reporting policies required from VARA are now fully operational. 

El Sheikh adds, “The license application journey was a learning experience for Hex Trust” and “the regulator was supportive throughout the process.”