Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran to start doing deals in Bitcoin, this is a statement made on X by no other than Max Keiser, the well-known Bitcoin influencer and the host of Keiser report, who is as well senior Bitcoin advisor to Nayib Bukele, the President of El Salvador.

As per Keiser’s statement, on X, “Russia, KSA, Iran will start doing deals in Bitcoin. Qatar knows this and is pulling the trigger on a huge BTC buy for their SWF (Sovereign Wealth Fund).”

This comes just days after Keiser stated that the Qatar sovereign Fund would be buying $500 billion of Bitcoin. Keiser had stated on X, “I have 1 word for you $100,000 Bitcoin God Candle fans. QATAR, the rumors are getting very loud on this. Their SWF (Sovereign Wealth Fund) rumored to looking to buy 1/2 trillion BTC (Bitcoin).”

Months prior to this Qatar was touted as discussing Bitcoin mining during the visit of HH Prince Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani of Qatar to El Salvador but nothing materialized on that front yet.

Keiser is a longtime Bitcoin advocate and educator, having advised people to buy Bitcoin since the price was $1.

With his statements Keiser seems to imply that the top GCC countries, Iran, and Russia plans to break away from the U.S. dollar and gravitate towards Bitcoin for trade.

Some would say that given that the Qatar Investment Authority founded in 2005 in October 2023, had an estimated $475 billion of assets under management would they use all that to buy Bitcoin? Qatar has not even legalized the trade of cryptocurrencies and neither has Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Russia.

In January 2023, Qatar Investment Authority CEO Mansoor Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud told Bloomberg that they would be interested in the credit space, and AI (Artificial Intelligence) as a theme of investments. In 2022 the CEO of Qatar Sovereign Wealth Fund showed interest in investing in Blockchain but shunned crypto.

Could the strained relationships with the United States be pushing forward this movement towards de-dollarization in the form of utilization of Bitcoin?

Another interesting analysis could be that Qatar is actually interested in Bitcoin mining in El Salvador.  El Salvador was noted as entering a public private partnership worth $1billion to create the world’s largest Bitcoin mining farm. Volcano Energy has developed the first mining pool in El Salvador with Luxor Technology.

This according to Volcano Energy is a $1 billion Bitcoin mining project set to transform El Salvador through the development and operation of renewable energy plants. Could Qatar one of the most experienced and highly invested renewable energy country be interested in this project? Maybe just maybe yes!

UAE based crypto mining group, Phoenix share price soared 50% as it launched on Abu Dhabi Exchange (ADX). Its share price opened at 2.25 AED on Tuesday December 5th, up from its IPO price of 1.5 AED. This is the first crypto IPO and listing in the MENA region.

The IPO raised $371 million and was oversubscribed 33 times with retail investors leading with over subscription of 180 times.

International Holding Co, Abu Dhabi’s largest conglomerate controlled by a key member of the emirate’s royal family, bought a 10% stake in Phoenix in early October.

Phoenix is also closely affiliated with the recently launched M2 regulated crypto exchange out of Abu Dhabi.

In August 2023 Oman’s Green Data City and Abu Dhabi’s Phoenix Group signed an agreement to develop a 150MW crypto-mining farm in Oman. The new farm will be set up in Green Data City was noted that it will be operational by Q2 2024, becoming one of the largest crypto-mining data centers in the region.

Abdulla Salem Alnuaimi, Chief Executive Officer of ADX, said: “The listing of Phoenix Group on our exchange not only adds to the diversity of products on our market but also signals the growing interest in the digital economy and financial technology investments in Abu Dhabi and the UAE”.

“We are proud to continue to be the exchange market of choice for tech-driven issuers and investors, as we remain committed to our mission of connecting opportunity and providing a world-class exchange market experience for all our stakeholders,” he added.

Bijan Alizadehfard, Co-Founder & Group CEO of Phoenix Group PLC, stated: “Phoenix Group’s ADX listing is a milestone for diversified technology and innovation. Our IPO symbolises a leap forward for Abu Dhabi as a nexus of digital transformation across various sectors. By blending advanced blockchain applications, strategic tech partnerships, and market-leading digital asset services, we’re proud to be part of Abu Dhabi’s Economic Vision 2030.”

Munaf Ali, Co-Founder & Group MD of Phoenix Group PLC stated: “The ADX listing of Phoenix Group is a testament to our multifaceted technological prowess. From spearheading blockchain advancements to shaping the landscape of digital finance, our presence on the exchange is a narrative of cross-industry tech innovation. As a preferred partner for government-led tech initiatives, we’re championing a future where the Abu Dhabi stands as a global beacon for sustainable and comprehensive digital economy growth.” 

This article updated November 6th 2023

The Dubai Virtual asset regulatory authority public register continues to have UAE based BitOasis, crypto exchange on a “non operational” MVP Operational license status after a server glitch which had removed BitOasis from the registry for sometime totally today. This comes after months of BitOasis being on an inactive status, yet within Abu Dhabi’s regulatory body ADGM and FSRA BitOasis has a withdrawn its license application.

BitOasis has been working since July 2023 to fulfill select conditions associated with its Operational MVP License with respect to serving Institutional and Qualified Retail Investors, yet it seems that this is still ongoing with no change in its status to date.

BitOasis license in ADGM Abu Dhabi UAE, under the registered company name BLEX Financial limited has been withdrawn as well. In 2021 BitOasis had announced in a press release that its ADGM registered entity “had been granted a Financial Services Permission (FSP) from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and is currently working towards the migration of its operations towards launch in ADGM”, this seems to have been put to a halt.

In August, the Dubai based crypto exchange received a capital injection aimed at supporting BitOasis. The capital injection came from Indian crypto exchange CoinDCX. At the time, Ola Doudin, Co-Founder and CEO of BitOasis said: “We are delighted to be working with CoinDCX, India’s leading crypto platform. The investment will allow us to sharpen our focus on perfecting our existing products and expanding across our markets. We are very excited about the opportunities the funding will unlock for us.”

At the time of investment, BitOasis was undertaking mass layoffs.

Yet CoinDCX has not sought for a license in either ADGM or VARA.

Given that BitOasis is not licensed in ADGM and its license status is non active in Dubai’s VARA registry, does that make it an illegal VASP operating in the UAE, this is especially important after the Central Bank issued its recent guidance for combating the use of unlicensed virtual asset service providers.

As per BitOasis blog, in March 2022, BitOasis received a provisional approval from Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority [VARA] to continue its business operations in Dubai whilst it undertakes the [in-depth] process of applying for a license in accordance with the VARA requirements. It is on this basis that the exchange is still operating today notes BitOasis.

This article has been updated as VARA website has reinstated BitOasis on their registery.

As the woes pack up on Binance crypto exchange, first with the guilty plea from CZ, and then Ronaldo being sued because he promoted Binance products, the Dubai Virtual asset regulator VARA has made a statement 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 have on boarded approximately 180 qualified investors and institutional clients.

VARA notes that it  cannot comment on regulatory and enforcement actions taken on business conducted in other jurisdictions, but does assure, “ We have been, and will continue to be, closely monitoring ongoing developments and specifically how they relate to Binance FZE operations in accordance with our commitment to uphold market integrity, consumer protection, and the security of the domestic ecosystem.”

Binance while being one of the first to apply for a license in the UAE, has been late in receiving a license while others such as M2 in Abu Dhabi, RAIN crypto broker, CoinMENA, Fasset,  and many others have been able to become fully licensed.

It seems that Richard Teng, the new CEO of Binance will have a lot on his plate in the coming months.

CoinMENA has just become one of the first crypto broker from the MENA region to receive a full VASP (Virtual asset service provider license from VARA). As per the license CoinMENA can offer crypto broker services to institutional investors, qualified investors and retail clients.

With this CoinMENA becomes the 10th VASP to receive a license from Dubai’s regulator. CoinMENA already has a license in Bahrain and serves clients across the MENA region.

In August 2023 MENA CoinMENA came out with a new marketing campaign announcing that as a licensed exchange it is serving more than 250,000 users across 8 countries including Bahrain, UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Iraq and Egypt, stating its intentions to expand its base.

Still not to receive are Binance, Bybit, and Crypto.com, while BitOasis has been removed totally from VARA’s registered VASP list.

This comes after M2 launched its operations out of Abu Dhabi.

UAE digital assets infrastructure provider Fuze has partnered with Abu Dhabi headquartered Wio Bank to empower its customers with virtual assets trading services.

Customers will be able to buy and sell popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, directly through Wio Bank’s recently launched application, Wio Personal.

Wio Personal is an intelligent everyday banking application redefining the way individuals see, manage, and grow their money. The personal banking application allows all customers to start investing simply and effortlessly. Wio Personal users can access thousands of global stocks, ETFs, fractional shares and even UAE IPOs seamlessly in a single, integrated app.

Speaking about the significance of the partnership, Jayesh Patel, CEO of Wio Bank PJSC, said, “The region is emerging as an important hub for cryptocurrency and there is a demand from customers for convenient, seamless access to crypto trading services integrated within their daily banking apps. As a business that was created to catalyze the digital banking ecosystem, we are excited at the opportunities this collaboration with Fuze provides, to better serve our customers and support the UAE’s forward-thinking transformation of the financial services sector. Fuze mirrors our own robust governance, compliance, and risk capabilities, so our customers can be confident in having secure access to Virtual Assets.”

Mohammed Ali Yusuf (Mo Ali Yusuf), Co-Founder and CEO of Fuze, added, “As a regulated provider, we are proud to partner with Wio Bank, which has already made tremendous strides in redefining banking for the modern era across the region. There is a clear synergy with our mission to build the future of finance and we look forward to supporting Wio Bank in delivering regulated, trusted crypto services to its flourishing customer base.”

In a recent UAE poll suggested 48% of crypto users lacked trust in crypto exchanges. Through such partnerships, neobanks can provide regulated options for their customers and help to increase trust in the crypto ecosystem.

Dubai’s virtual asset regulatory authority has just listed UAE based Nine Blocks Capital Management as a receiving a full VASP license and will make Dubai UAE its headquarters.

As per VARA website, Nine Blocks Capital will be able to offer crypto and virtual asset investment services to institutional and qualified investors.

Nine Blocks Capital received initial approval from VARA back in August 2022. Nine Blocks was launched by by PwC’s former global crypto head Henri Arslanian.

Nine Blocks is the investment manager of the Nine Blocks Master Fund, a market neutral crypto fund focused on generating alpha from inefficiencies in the crypto markets using relative value, arbitrage and quantitative strategies.
With around $100m in AuM and a track record of more than 2 years, Nine Blocks manages assets for many leading investors globally, from regulated financial institutions and private banks to public companies and fund of funds.
This license is the culmination of a process that started with an MOU between Nine Blocks and VARA, allowing knowledge sharing and consultation.
The Nine Blocks group was set-up in 2021 with the belief that institutional investors want digital assets exposure via fund managers who have established digital assets track record, are regulated, have traditional finance experience and comply with the highest operational due diligence requirements.
Henri Arslanian, co-founder and managing partner of Nine Blocks said, “We believe that a regulatory regime tailored for the fast-moving digital assets space can not only provide comfort to institutional allocators but also contribute to the growth of a healthy crypto ecosystem.The UAE is quickly becoming a leading jurisdiction globally for digital assets and we are honored to be part of this journey.”

Nine Blocks follows a market neutral trading strategy, profiting from arbitrage opportunities and market inefficiencies across the crypto space.

The eToro platform which offers traders and investors more than 3,000 different financial assets, including stocks, cryptocurrencies, ETFs, indices, currencies and commodities has announced receiving approval for Financial Services Permission from the regulatory body FSRA at ADGM ( Abu Dhabi Global Market) in UAE.

While eToro’s main research and development office is located in Tel Aviv, Israel, it has legal entities registered in the UK, US, Australia and Cyprus. The firm is regulated by the CySEC authority in the EU; it is authorized by the FCA in the UK, and by FinCEN in the United States, and by the ASIC in Australia. eToro boasts of 35 million customers across 100 countries.

In September 2022, eToro has recieved its in principle approval.

The approval will allow eToro to operate as a broker for securities, derivatives, and cryptoassets in the United Arab Emirates.

Yoni Assia, Founder and CEO of eToro, comments, “The approval of our operating license by ADGM is a key milestone in our continued global expansion. Abu Dhabi is increasingly recognized as a growing fintech hub, and we are excited to become part of this flourishing ecosystem. With our team in Abu Dhabi led by Jason Hughes, Senior Executive Officer for eToro Middle East and George Naddaf, GCC & MENA Regional Manager, we are looking forward to deepening our relationships in this dynamic market and to helping our UAE clients grow their financial knowledge and wealth as part of a global community of investors.”

Arvind Ramamurthy, Chief of Market Development at ADGM, added, “We are delighted to welcome eToro to ADGM. We are confident that ADGM’s dynamic ecosystem and progressive regulations will enable eToro’s vision, ADGM is the largest regulated jurisdiction of virtual assets in the MENA region and eToro’s participation will add to its vibrant and trusted ecosystem of virtual asset trading venues, global exchanges and service providers, and reinforce the UAE’s strategic value to global finance.”

eToro, M2, Rain have all beat Binance to it by recieving crypto broker exchange licenses from ADGM, while Binance currently has a crypto custodial license allowing it only to deal with institutional clients.

UAE based Phoenix Group, a cryptocurrency mining technology and blockchain entity, which launched the first crypto mining entity IPO in UAE on November 16th, has announced a resounding success with an impressive 33 time over subscription led by retail investors.

As per the press release, this success demonstrates robust investor interest.

The company’s offer of 907,323,529 shares witnessed overwhelming demand, particularly from retail investors who oversubscribed by 180 times. Professional investors also showed strong support, contributing to a 22-fold oversubscription, underscoring the strength and potential of Phoenix Group.

Bijan Alizadehfard, Co-Founder & Group CEO of Phoenix Group PLC, stated, “The overwhelming interest during the offer period is a powerful endorsement of our pioneering role in Cryptocurrency Mining and Blockchain. The anticipation leading up to our listing on ADX, as reflected by the oversubscription, is a testament to the confidence investors place in our vision and the potential they see in Phoenix Group.”

Munaf Ali, Co-Founder & Group MD of Phoenix Group PLC, commented on this milestone, “The exceptional oversubscription during our offer period is a clear indicator of the market’s endorsement of Phoenix Group as a leader in Cryptocurrency Mining and Blockchain Technology. As we prepare for our listing on ADX on December 4, 2023, under the trading symbol PHX, we are more committed than ever to enhancing our mining capabilities and driving tech innovations forward.”

Prior to the IPO, Phoenix Group sold 10% of its company shares to Abu Dhabi conglomerate International Holding Company’s subsidiary. This was seen as a positive stance towards Phoenix Group.

The successful close of the offer period paves the way for Phoenix Group’s anticipated listing on the ADX, scheduled for December 4, 2023, under the trading symbol PHX.

Marathon Digital Holding, a crypto mining entity has mined 18 Bitcoin out of the 1,202 Bitcoin produced in October 2023 from its UAE joint venture with 2.3 exahashes online in Abu Dhabi with 7 exahashes to be online by end of 2023. The figures were published in its unaudited Bitcoin BTC production and miner installation updates for October 2023.

Fried Thiel, Marathon Digital’s Chairman and CEO  stated in their press release, “  “In October, we increased our energized hash rate 1% to 19.2 exahashes as the facility in Garden City, Texas, where we have 4.1 exahashes of miners installed, began to come online. Once this facility is fully operational later this month, we will have surpassed our 23 exahash target and solidified Marathon as the largest publicly traded Bitcoin miner in North America.”

In terms of the operation in UAE, Thiel added, “By increasing our hash rate and continuing to improve our operations at the facility in McCamey, Texas and elsewhere, we earned 4.0% of the total Bitcoin network’s available miner rewards and produced 1,202 bitcoin in October. This total includes 18 bitcoin from our 20% share of the JV in Abu Dhabi. We now have 2.3 exahashes online in Abu Dhabi as our second, larger facility in Masdar City has begun powering up. We continue to expect the full 7.0 exahashes in the UAE to be online by year-end.

“We have also been exploring new methods of mining that we believe may allow us to further diversify our operations, reduce our energy costs, and increase our sustainable energy mix. We recently announced a pilot project in Utah that is exclusively powered by landfill methane gas. Naturally produced methane is often stranded, and Bitcoin miners like Marathon are uniquely positioned to help capture and convert this environmentally harmful gas into clean, renewable energy. We look forward to sharing more of the many innovative mining projects that we are exploring in the months ahead.”

Furthermore in November 8th Marathon Digital Holdings reported results for the third quarter 2023 including its operational results for the quarter ended September 30th 2023, Thiel made a statement showcasing how their international expansion in UAE has opened up new international opportunities such as Paraguay. He noted, “We made significant progress on our 2023 strategic  priorities in the  third quarter. First, we grew our energized hash rate 8% quarter-over-quarter to  19.1 exahashes. In addition, our new facility in Garden City started energizing last week and is  expected to be fully operational later this month. Second, we experienced significantly higher uptime  as  optimization  efforts  helped  increase  our  U.S. average operational hash  rate 18%  from last  quarter to  14.2 exahashes.  Third, we energized our first joint venture and our first international location in  the UAE. This initial success has helped open new opportunities, and we  recently entered into a new joint venture in Paraguay powered by hydroelectricity.

The Company recorded net income of $64.1 million, or $0.35 per diluted share, during the three months ended  September 30, 2023, compared  to a net loss  of $72.5 million, or $0.62 loss per share, in the same period last year.

Marathon Digital officially inaugurated it 200 MW Bitcoin mining facility at Masdar City in Abu Dhabi UAE, under the joint venture Two Zero. In January 27th 2022, Marathon digital Holdings, announced that it had entered into a shareholder’s agreement with FSI (FS Innovation), the BTC mining subsidiary of UAE ADQ a sovereign fund, to form an Abu Dhabi, (Abu Dhabi Global Markets) based company.