The Dubai based entity of WadzPay, WPME Technology, which specializes in blockchain based technology for virtual assets has been granted a Virtual Assets Service Provider (VASP) Licence for Virtual Asset Broker-Dealer service activities, better known as crypto broker license, by Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA).

The crypto broker licence remains non-operational until the company fully satisfies all remaining conditions and select localisation requirements defined by VARA, following which it will be able to commence operations, subject to regulatory reverification and approval.

As per the press release, WadzPay is excited to deliver its innovative and industry-leading solutions to customers across Middle East while working closely with regulators in contributing to build a compliant and robust fintech ecosystem.

Mr. Anish Jain, Founder & CEO, WadzPay stated “This licence showcases WadzPay’s dedication in promoting innovation in the field of virtual assets domain and blockchain technology bringing us a step closer to delivering world class solutions to businesses in Middle East.”

WadzPay aims to revolutionise the way people in the Middle East transact and manage virtual assets. WadzPay’s commitment to compliance ensures that financial institutions and their customers can confidently embrace the benefits of blockchain technology while adhering to regulatory standards, ultimately contributing to the growth and sustainability of the fintech ecosystem in the Middle East.

Mr. Ram Chari, Board Member and Group Director, WadzPay quoted “This will further solidify WadzPay’s position as a trusted and reliable blockchain technology based financial service provider in the region. With the broker-dealer services, WadzPay will provide the technology to its clients to enhance the experience of their customers by enabling virtual assets transactions in a seamless and secure manner. “

To which Mr. Khaled Moharem, President – MENA & Europe at WadzPay, emphasised, “This cements our hard work and sets the stage for transformative blockchain solutions, promoting compliance and customer confidence in the Virtual Assets Industry.”

WadzPay received its initial approval for a license back in October 2023.

In 2022, KSA based Geidea, a leading fintech company in Saudi Arabia and Blockchain based payments solutions, WadzPay Middle East Technology forged a new strategic partnership to power the transformation of pilgrimage payments.

WadzPay had been strivign to obtain a Blockchain settlement and payment license from VARA in Dubai, yet this will need further framework and direction from the Central Bank of UAE.

Fastex, a crypto exchange, payments gateway and ecommerce platform, has set up an office in Dubai World Trade Center, as it seeks a license from Dubai’s virtual asset regulatory authority (VARA). Fastex has already received initial approval from VARA.

As per the press release, Fastex chose the office because of its proximity to VARA. As stated, “This proximity enhances Fastex’s ability to work closely with the authority and expedite the licensing process as a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP). In addition to the office opening, Fastex has received initial approval from VARA to conduct Broker-Dealer and Exchange operations, highlighting its commitment to regulatory compliance.”

Vardan Khachatryan, the Chief Legal Officer and Member of the Board of Directors at Fastex, stated, “Opening our new Dubai World Trade Center office is a noteworthy step in Fastex’s growth strategy. This move underscores our commitment to adhering to industry standards and maintaining high-quality service in the digital asset field. Being located in the DWTC, close to VARA and other key industry participants, positions us well to offer reliable and regulated services to our clients.”

Fastex will be participating at the AIBC Summit in Dubai UAE. They announced on X platform that they were nominated for best exchange of the year award.

This comes as DKK Partners FZE, subsidiary of DKK Partners a fintech company also announced that it has been granted an initial approval by the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) for crypto brokerage dealer services.

So far more than 11 crypto exchanges have received licenses in UAE.

In a recent X statement, Onramp Money a provider of fiat-to-crypto onramp solutions, offering a seamless and secure way for users to trade cryptocurrencies using their fiat currencies, and self-custodial crypto wallet Metamask announced that users in the UAE can buy 300 + digital assets using the AED currency directly through Metamask.

As stated, “Breakthrough in the UAE, Now users I the UAE can buy 300+ digital assets with AED directly within metamask using OnRamp Money.”

his integration allows MetaMask users in the UAE to buy over 300 digital assets with Emirati Dirham (AED) directly through the MetaMask mobile app and Portfolio Dapp, facilitated by instant bank transfers.

As per a blog post, Onramp Money’s integration provides a seamless, fast, and secure method to access web3 and acquire tokens conveniently, without the need to navigate the complexities of centralised crypto exchanges.

The Blog post adds, “The integration with Onramp Money in MetaMask to support Emirati Dirham (AED) is a pivotal development for the cryptocurrency industry in the UAE, especially in Dubai. It signifies a major leap in making digital asset transactions more accessible, efficient, and integrated into everyday financial activities.”

This is not the first announcement that Metamask makes in an Arab country. In December 2023, MetaMask self-custody crypto wallet announced that it had partnered with several entities across the globe including Egyptian payment provider Vodafone Cash to offer new ways to onboard crypto around the world.

Metamask has currently 30 million users.

Liminal, Singapore based and Hong Kong regulated digital asset custody wallet provider, which recently received an in principle approval for Abu Dhabi’s digital asset regulator FSRA in ADGM to operate as virtual assets custody provider, has partnered with UAE Encryptus which offer fiat off ramp solutions.

This partnership aims to help institutions to convert crypto to local currencies seamlessly. Liminal users will be able to convert their digital asset treasure into fiat currencies. Encryptus facilitates business payments in 54 countries and individual payments in 80+ countries to bank wires and mobile ewallets.

Encryptus will benefit by gaining access to a diverse client base seeking secure and compliant crypto to fiat solutions.

In parallel, Liminal can now offer extended service to its existing clients by integrating Encryptus’s off-ramp solutions, enabling direct crypto-to-fiat transfer right from their Vaults app.

Manhar Garegrat, Country Head India & Global Partnerships at Liminal said, “We are delighted to partner with Encryptus, a company that shares our commitment to security, compliance, and innovation. This collaboration will undoubtedly enhance our ability to provide cutting-edge solutions to our clients globally.”

Shantnoo Saxsena, CEO at Encryptus said, “The partnership with Liminal marks a strategic move towards offering a comprehensive fiat off-ramp solution to Liminal’s customers. Encryptus is committed to empower their partners to offer Crypto <> Fiat services in a secure and in a compliant way. We are really excited to be a part of Liminal’s ecosystem”

Liminal has operations spread across APAC MENA and Europe, along with offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, India and Abu Dhabi. Liminal provides bespoke wallet infrastructure for self-custodial businesses and provides custody services as a qualified custodian with a TCSP license in Hong Kong and an in-principle approval for its custody license from ADGM in Abu Dhabi.  

UAE based HAYVN which is a digital asset focused financial institution, providing trading, asset Management, custody, and payments previously regulated and active in Abu Dhabi, has fallen under a great wall of scrutiny and a black cloud both with regards of the activities of its previous CEO as well its current status as a regulated entity in the UAE.

In less than a week, Hayvn not only announced the so called resignation of its CEO Christopher Flinos and the request to make its status inactive in Abu Dhabi ADGM ( Abu Dhabi Global Market), but it also insinuated that the CEO had carried out a huge misconduct. In an email statement made by the PR agency of Hayvn, Fully Vested, to UNLOCK Blockchain, the agency noted, “The CEO stepped down from the management of the business, following a request from the Board of Directors due to the CEO’s conduct.”

Sources close to LaraontheBlock have noted that there has been speculation moving around with regards to possible embezzlement. This is further reconfirmed by the fact that Christopher Flinos is nowhere to be found. His phone is off, he does not respond to LinkedIn or other messages, and he himself has not made any statement to clear his name or explain his actions and that of the board of Hayvn.

LaraontheBlock reached out to the FSRA (Financial Services and Regulatory Authority) at ADGM with two questions. The first question, as a regulatory authority what actions have or will be taken towards Hayvn given the current cloud of speculation around it and the activities of its prior CEO?

The second question, can ADGM confirm that institutional clients in the UAE have not been effected financially or otherwise from the actions taken by the prior CEO and Hayvn as a crypto custodian and if effected will there be restitution?

The response which came from FSRA attributed to Mr. Emmanuel Givanakis. CEO of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority at ADGM stated, “As the financial regulator of ADGM, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) is bound by the highest levels of confidentiality and therefore is not positioned to discuss individual firms. The FSRA is committed to supervising all regulated entities so they maintain high standards to address risks related to their activities. ADGM stands as a transparent jurisdiction and has relevant public information on registered and licensed entities by its independent regulatory authorities in ADGM available on the public register.”

As per its license, AC Limited (Hayvn) is not permitted to deal with Retail Clients and is restricted to USD 1 million in total assets (Fiat and Accepted Virtual Assets) for a maximum of 100 clients.

When the same questions were posed to Ahmed W Ismail Co-Founder, Board Member & Operating Committee Member of HAYVN, he replied with this statement, “I can confirm that there has been a change of management at HAYVN. The CEO stepped down from the management of the business, following a request from the Board of Directors. Client funds are safe and there will be no disruption to the service of any clients. We continue to be a globally regulated business through our entities in Australia, Cayman and Lithuania.”

Hayvn was granted a license in ADGM in December 2021, allowing it to offer deals for investments, and virtual asset custody. In October 2023 Hayvn announced that had processed over 22 000 cryptocurrency transactions to date in 2023.

While back in August 2023 Swedish and UAE based Gayo aviation, a luxury travel company that offers aircraft management, consulting services, aircraft purchase and sales and flight deck services announced they were now offering crypto payments utilizing UAE HAYVN Pay.

In May Hayvn also announced that it had recorded returns of 19 percent increase on its crypto index fund since its launch in January 2023. The index fund  included the top 20 digital assets by market capitalization with a maximum weighting of 10% for any asset to increase diversification. It is a broad based index strategy with monthly rebalancing.

In short Hayvn was busy partnering and launching products.  It partnered with WooCommernce to offer a plug-in allowing merchants to create an additional revenue stream by accepting cryptocurrency payments from customers globally. It also partnered with crypto hardware manufacturer, Ledger to provide safe and robust off-ramping rails to users of Ledger’s Ledger Live service, as well as strategic partnership with Akurateco, a cutting-edge white-label payment software vendor operating worldwide to broaden crypto payments, and finally the most recent partnership with Malta based Apcopay, a Single Layer – Payments Orchestration Platform which they noted was crucial to HAYVN Pay’s global expansion strategy, providing an alternative payment avenue for businesses.

This flurry of activity while to many looks like reflections of growth and expansion could also have been a cover up for activities that led to the current situation Hayvn is in today.

Could the rushed technology upgrade implemented just before Flinos’s resignation which created widespread disruptions for Hayvn Pay Clients been part and one of the issues realted to the misconduct of the CEO?

These questions and many more should become clearer as the Abu Dhabi Global Market regulator investigates, and as Hayvn’s new leadership takes form.

Ripple Blockchain and crypto solutions provider has partnered with Onafriq, fintech payments entity, previously known as MFS Arica to offer digital asset enabled cross border payments in Africa, GCC ( Gulf Cooperation Council) countries as well as UK and Australia.

Onafriq utilizing Ripple payments, will open three new payment corridors between Africa and the rest of the world. In GCC Onafriq will be working with Blockchain enabled Pyyple fintech payments entity.

Antti Arponen, CEO at Pyypl, said: “The success of the GCC in drawing in people from all over the world to live and work here has made it a hub for remittance payments. So we are really pleased that our ever-increasing number of customers seeking to send money to Africa will greatly benefit from our new connection with Onafriq, which will allow them to send remittances quickly and cost-effectively to the continent. ”

The partnership is bringing faster, more efficient, and cost-effective international money transfers to Africa, and is set to accelerate financial inclusion across the continent.

“For a number of years, Ripple has supported crypto-enabled, cross-border payments to individuals and businesses, and we are particularly excited to expand the reach of our solution into Africa thanks to our Onfriq partnership,” said Aaron Sears, SVP, Global Customer Success at Ripple. “Connecting our partners PayAngel, Pyppl and Zazi Transfer with Onafriq over Ripple Payments will bring the benefits of faster and more cost-effective cross-border payments to individuals seeking to send money into Africa from around the globe.”

Onafriq has the largest mobile money movement footprint across Africa at a time when mobile money is a significant driver of financial inclusion and has revolutionized access to financial services across the continent. The fintech’s payment hub connects over 500 million mobile wallets across 40 African countries, and operates across more than 1300 payment corridors on the continent, underpinning regional payment interoperability and seamless cross-border payments.

The announcement is being made as Dare Okoudjou, Founder & CEO of Onafriq, is set to appear at Swell Global 2023, the seventh edition of Ripple’s annual customer conference, which this year takes place in Dubai.

Dare Okoudjou, Founder & CEO at Onafriq, said: “Our mission is to make borders matter less when it comes to payment within, to, and from Africa. We are advancing this mission through our partnership with Ripple, which is already enabling new types of connections with fintechs such as PayAngel, Pyppl and Zazi Transfer. These connections are set to enable fast, secure and low-cost remittances at scale between Africa and the rest of the world, and represent a bold first step for our crypto strategy to leverage blockchain technologies to amplify our impact on people and businesses on the continent.”

Binance Pay has announced that it is now offering its cryptocurrency transaction platform with over 3,000 Bahrain retailers. Binance pay is working with online as well as physical store to offer secure crypto payments.

The Bahrain retailers include names such as Sharaf DG, the electronic retailer in Bahrain. In addition to local fast food chain Jasmis, as well as STC Bahrain, LuLu HyperMarket, Dose Café, Al Zin Jewellry, Salmabad, Wadi Al Sail and Hawar, petrol stations, Pet Arabia, Premier Motors Showroom, Reebok store and many more.

As per the announcement, “With the continuously growing adoption of blockchain technology and digital currencies, this revolution is just the beginning. Be part of it by supporting these merchants and making a transaction the Binance way!”

In January 2023 Binance celebrated its official entrance into Bahrain. Binance received its official license in October 2022. On entrance Binance Pay partnered with Bahrain Eazy Pay to introduce crypto payments for Bahrain real estate developer Bin Faqeeh Real estate Investment.

Binance also launched crypto futures products in Bahrain after receiving regulatory permission.  With this Binance Bahrain BSC became the first regulated exchange in the region to offer these services and the only exchange with a CAT4 license.

This came after Binance suspended its crypto debit card services in Latin America and the Middle East from Aug. 25. The crypto debit card services in Latin America and the Middle East were terminated Sept. 21, but the exchange claimed refunds and disputes could still be processed until Dec. 20, 2023.

UBITQUITY, a blockchain and real estate technology company for Real World Assets for web3 is thrilled has partnered with BENMARG Group, a luxury real estate agency based in Dubai, UAE. This to enhance the luxury real estate market by showcasing BENMARG Group’s exquisite property listings on CryptoListing, a prominent platform for real estate transactions using cryptocurrencies as well as enabled cryptocurrency transactions for these luxury properties through UBITQUITY’s innovative UbitquityPay service.

BENMARG Group is renowned for curating an exclusive portfolio of luxury real estate offerings in Dubai and beyond. The company’s commitment to delivering exceptional properties that cater to the most discerning clientele aligns perfectly with the capabilities of CryptoListing and UbitquityPay.

CryptoListing, a bleeding-edge platform, provides a secure and transparent environment for the purchase and sale of real estate using cryptocurrencies. This collaboration will allow BENMARG Group to tap into the growing global market of cryptocurrency enthusiasts and investors who seek luxury properties as a store of value and investment.

UBITQUITY, LLC’s UbitquityPay service is designed to streamline cryptocurrency transactions for real estate, offering both buyers and sellers a simplified and efficient process. This service will enable BENMARG Group’s clients to seamlessly complete cryptocurrency transactions when purchasing these high-end properties.

“We are excited to collaborate with UBITQUITY, LLC, to bring our luxury real estate listings to the CryptoListing platform. This partnership allows us to cater to a tech-savvy and global audience while providing a secure and efficient way to transact in cryptocurrencies,” said George Gabriel of BENMARG Group.

“BENMARG Group’s commitment to excellence in luxury real estate aligns perfectly with our mission to bring innovation to the real estate industry. We look forward to enabling seamless cryptocurrency transactions for their prestigious properties through UbitquityPay,” said Nathan Wosnack, Founder & CEO of UBITQUITY.

Representatives from both BENMARG Group and UBITQUITY are currently at the Future Blockchain Summit in Dubai, UAE.

Concurrently UBITQUITY and Women in Blockchain Canada have joined Forces to Fundraise and Forge Enterprise Partnerships as well as bring its tech innovations to MENA at Future Blockchain Summit.

In a recent blog post Sologenic, a Ripple partner pointed out the Ripple now boasta of 4.8 million wallets with 20 percent of its customers coming from MENA region. The information was provided by Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse during the Dubai Fintech Summit.

These comments were made as Sologenic and Ripple expand their presence in the UAE and MENA region. The SOLO Wallet has successfully onboarded over 200,000 users onto the XRP Ledger. Moreover, strategic partnerships with payment ramps like Uphold and BANXA to provide global accessibility to the ledger, and recent listings on prominent exchanges in specific regions such as Bitpanda (Northern Europe), CoinDCX (India), and CoinsPh (The Philipines) underscore the platform’s unwavering commitment to delivering accessible and cutting-edge tokenization solutions. These efforts directly address the surging demand among institutional investors eager to access digital assets.

As Ripple charts its course into the heart of Dubai’s financial sector, Sologenic stands as the one-stop-shop for all things XRP within the ecosystem. Sologenic’s platform connects global financial markets with the world of cryptocurrencies, redefining digital asset trading by allowing fractional share ownership.

Sologenic’s regulated arm is deploying a platform with a hybrid model for the on-demand tokenization of assets. This platform facilitates trading between crypto and off-chain traditional assets such as stocks & ETFs. This institutional-grade offering is designed for RIA’s, brokerage houses, family offices, banks and other financial institutions looking to tokenize real-world assets for their clients.

In Ripple’s latest report in July 2023,entitled “ 2023 New Value report, Crypto Trends in Business and Beyond” which covered topics such as cryptocurrencies, tokenization, DeFi, and crypto custody, financial decision makers from MENA ( Middle East and North Africa) are more bullish than their counterparts in other regions when it comes to cryptocurrencies, digital assets, and Blockchain.

As per the report findings, 72% of finance leaders surveyed expressed increased confidence in the crypto industry over the last 6 months, the number is even higher for those in the MENA region, reaching 87%.

90% of global finance leaders anticipate big impacts on business from blockchain and digital assets in the next three years. In terms of tokenization, they see the most massive impact in public stock trading and private share trading. This was especially expressed by finance decision makers with cryptocurrency experience in MENA.

UAE based HAYVN Pay an AC Holding Limited Dubai, offering,  digital asset-focused financial institution delivering Trading, Custody, Asset Management and Research services has processed over 22 000 cryptocurrency transactions to date in 2023.

As per HAYVN linkedIn post, “The market demands a payment platform that is accessible, regulated, affordable and efficient.”

The post adds, “HAYVN Pay is a regulation and technology-led business. We currently meet and exceed the requirements of several payment regulators and will continue to lead the integration of cryptocurrency into the traditional payments ecosystem.”

Prior to this announcement, HAYVN announced that it had received obtained initial approval from the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) in Dubai. HAYVN will now undertake the in-depth process of applying for a Virtual Asset Service Provider License, in accordance with VARA requirements.

The initial approval affirms HAYVN’s commitment to strengthening its presence throughout the by ensuring firm commitment to regulatory compliance in the region, which remains a core territory for HAYVN.

At the time CEO of HAYVN, Christopher Flinos stated, “We are delighted to have met the requirements for our initial approval from VARA and look forward to being part of VARA’s regulatory framework. VARA regulation solidifies our position as the trusted cryptocurrency provider regionally. This is a core market of ours, and our regulatory strength here further supports our broader GCC business. We are proud to be a regulation-led firm, committed to upholding the highest standards of regulatory compliance, as we continue to expand our presence and contribute to the growth of the digital asset ecosystem here in the UAE.”