BitOasis, crypto broker has received its first license in the GCC and MENA region from Bahrain. The Category 2 license allows BitOasis to offer crypto asset services from the Central Bank of Bahrain. Prior to BitOasis receiving its license in Bahrain, CoinMENA, RAIN, ARP Digital and Binance had already received licenses.

ARP Digital, CoinMENA and Rain all hold a category 3 license, while only Binance holds a category 4 license. As such BitOasis will be the only category 2 license in Bahrain so far.

As per Bahrain licenses, a Category 1 license is issued to market participants providing investment advisory services, Category 2 licenses for trading in accepted crypto assets as an agent, portfolio management & Crypto-asset custody service as well as offering investment advice. Category 3 licenses are obtained, for trading in accepted crypto assets as an agent, trading in accepted crypto assets as a principal, portfolio management, keeping custody of crypto-asset as well as providing investment advice, while crypto exchanges receive a Category 4 license.

In the meantime, BitOasis current regulatory status in the UAE under VARA is active awaiting full license approval.

As per the press release, the regulatory approval in Bahrain will enable BitOasis to launch its new broker-dealer platform through its local company in the Kingdom, BitOasis Bahrain.

Located in Bahrain Fintech Bay, BitOasis Bahrain will be home to a small team of core employees at its inception, with the company gradually growing its presence in the Kingdom as it works to launch its new platform, expected to go live in the second half of 2024.

BitOasis Bahrain will serve retail, corporate, and institutional clients in Bahrain and the broader MENA region, with an initial focus on its broker-dealer product.

Ola Doudin, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of BitOasis, stated, “With regulation at the forefront of a maturing regional crypto market, we are delighted to have secured this new license from the Central Bank of Bahrain. The Central Bank’s commitment and leadership in regulating our industry allows businesses like BitOasis to launch cutting-edge products in an industry characterized by rapidly and dynamically evolving technology. We are excited to welcome our new team in Bahrain to the business and to start serving new customers very soon.”

Launched in 2016, BitOasis offers over 60 tokens with fiat currencies such as AED, SAR, and USD. Since its inception, the company has processed over USD 6 billion in trading volume and raised more than USD 40 million in funding from leading regional and global investors.

Aspen Digital, aimed at helping to accelerate the continued adoption of digital assets, and offer technical solutions to asset managers, high net worth individuals, family officers and other financial institutions, has received an in principle approval (IPA) from the regulatory arm of Abu Dhabi ADGM ( Abu Dhabi Global Market). the FSRA.

Aspen Digital which is co-incubated by Everest Ventures Group, a venture studio specializing in digital assets and blockchain technologies and TTB Partners, a regulated, boutique advisory and asset management firm started by Sir John Bond’s family will act as a bridge between tradition finance and the digital assets industry.

Subject to final regulatory approval, Aspen Digital will be licensed to provide financial services out of ADGM and expand its product offering and presence within the rapidly growing digital asset ecosystem in the Middle East.

Aspen Digital’s unique offering as a one-stop solution for private wealth to build their allocation to the alternative digital asset class will play an important role in driving the local ecosystem and broader adoption within the region.

CEO of Aspen Digital, Elliot Andrews said, “The IPA is an important milestone for Aspen Digital as we look to expand both our global footprint and offering within the digital asset sector. With a deep understanding of the asset class, ADGM has built a very comprehensive and clear regulatory framework in which to operate. We are grateful for their support and look forward to working closely with them in driving the next wave of digital asset adoption. 

QCP, an institutional digital assets company, announced in a press release, that they have received In-Principle Approval from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) to conduct regulated activities. According to the press release, the decision to make a move into this strategic market for the company’s footprint was in anticipation that the Middle East is going to become a dominant global hub for capital flowing into traditional and digital assets.

Founded in 2017 QCP is one of the largest trading desks in the world for digital asset derivatives and a provider of trading solutions and structured strategies. Ernst & Young finds that as of September 2023, the monthly volume of crypto derivatives stands at US$1.33 trillion, which is nearly four times the size of the crypto spot market. With most of the crypto derivative market currently existing outside the US, Abu Dhabi and the UAE have a lot of potential to capture this market segment.

In addition, with notable financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs and Brevan Howard launching in Abu Dhabi last year, Abu Dhabi is rapidly attracting its target segment of clients including family offices, traditional and crypto native macro hedge funds, high net worth individuals, blockchain protocols, VC funds, brokerages and more. QCP also previously announced a partnership with Further Ventures, which is reflective of how the company plans to meet the demand for financial and derivatives digital asset offerings in the market.

Melvin Deng, CEO, QCP said, “The IPA is a significant development for us and advances our goal of embracing greater regulation. We are committed to meeting ADGM’s transparent and high standards of regulatory compliance. Our intention is to be a responsible player that wants to support market confidence. We are proud to be the first Singaporean digital asset market maker and broker-dealer to set up here in the market and hope we can encourage others to venture into this dynamic market. We want to learn from what other players are doing in Abu Dhabi and the region and bring our expertise as a first mover in digital assets to the ecosystem.”

Arvind Ramamurthy, Chief of Market Development at ADGM said, “We congratulate QCP on receiving its IPA from ADGM and welcome them to Abu Dhabi’s thriving international financial centre. With a leading trading desk and digital asset capabilities, we look forward to QCP’s integration into ADGM’s ecosystem, which will streamline regional opportunities. As the digital assets landscape continues to evolve in the Middle East, we anticipate more companies like QCP to recognise the progressive and comprehensive nature of ADGM’s regulatory frameworks, fostering confidence in choosing Abu Dhabi as their regional base.”

QCP will continue to have its main company headquarters in Singapore while leveraging on Abu Dhabi as a base to break new ground and drive innovation. It is well positioned to expand on the back of strong business growth, with a 64 % Y-o-Y increase in Q1 trading volumes. In line with QCP’s long term commitment to the UAE, subject to the regulatory approval for the grant of the FSP, the company plans on making further investments to invest in their presence in the UAE.

WadzPay, a fintech blockchain based technology for virtual asset payment solutions, has announced its entrance into the Stablecoin business. According to the press release, this will shift Wadzpay’s strategy from one of being a virtual asset payments company to a blockchain financial services solutions provider. The new solutions will be organized as a new business and new brand. To ensure regulatory compliance, WadzPay will set up a new entity and will pursue approvals in UAE, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

WadzPay recently was granted a license for crypto brokerage by Dubai’s virtual asset regulatory authority, pending finalizing some requirements.

The decision to venture into the Stablecoin market comes as a response to the increasing demand for secure, transparent, and efficient digital payment solutions worldwide. WadzPay will introduce two main products: Stable Coin as a Service and its own regulated USD$ Stablecoin, designed for local and international payments, cross border remittances, and settlements of on-chain transactions related to RWA.

According to recent market research by Bernstein, the global market for stablecoins is projected to grow from $125 billion to almost $3 trillion in next 5 years. This growth is fueled by factors such as the rise of decentralized finance (DeFi) applications, cross-border remittances, and the need for stable digital assets to mitigate volatility risks in cryptocurrency markets.

By leveraging blockchain technology, WadzPay aims to provide users with a reliable alternative to traditional fiat currencies, offering stability, convenience, and speed at lower cost in transactions for merchants, businesses and individuals worldwide. With a focus on compliance and regulations, WadzPay is poised to address the growing demand for stablecoins while ensuring security and regulatory compliance in its operations. Apart from the traditional use cases, WadzPay will add some new and innovative uses of stablecoins to the mix.

With this strategic move, WadzPay aims to innovate in solving foreign exchange problems and will introduce an innovative first-in-market business model, setting itself apart from competitors. WadzPay will build a world class team under the new leadership to drive this business.

Founder & Group CEO of WadzPay, Mr. Anish Jain, emphasized the strategic significance of this expansion, stating, “Our entry into the stablecoin business reflects our dedication to meeting the evolving needs of our customers and staying at the forefront of technological innovation. With the growing adoption of virtual assets, particularly stablecoins, we see tremendous potential for growth and are excited to offer our expertise in this space, while remaining committed to compliance and regulations.”

Leading the initiative is Mr. Jason Sarria-Solis as the President – Emerging & New Business in charge of the stablecoin business. With over 20 years of experience in the technology and fintech industry, Mr. Jason brings a wealth of knowledge and a proven track record of driving business growth and innovation. He has led multiple projects spanning from founding and scaling a successful telecom startup in the UK to leading digital banking, embedded finance, and blockchain projects in Asia.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr. Jason Sarria-Solis expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “I am thrilled to join WadzPay at such a pivotal moment in the company’s journey. The stablecoin market presents immense opportunities for disruption and advancement in the payments, remittance, and on-chain settlement space, and I look forward to leading our team in delivering innovative solutions that meet the needs of our users and drive the company’s growth.”

WadzPay remains committed to its mission of revolutionizing the virtual asset financial services landscape with blockchain technology, and the expansion into the stablecoin business marks a significant milestone in this journey. With a focus on technological excellence, customer satisfaction, and strategic partnerships, the company is poised to emerge as a key player in the financial services ecosystem.

HexTrust, a digital asset custodian, under the UAE entity name of HT Market MENA, has been granted a VASP license from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) that will allow it to offer crypto brokerage services allowing it to serve both institutional and retail clients, pending that all requirements are fulfilled.

This is the second VASP license that HexTrust receives from VARA. It was previously awarded a crypto custodial license back in November 2023.

Hex Trust’s Dubai office was established in June 2022, and is led by Regional MENA Director, Filippo Buzzi.

On receiving the first license for digital asset custody services Buzzi stated, “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.”

With this license Hex Trust will not only be able to hold crypto for its clients but also allow trading.

To date Dubai’s VARA has awarded 18 VASP licenses with the latest being Binance and WadzPay.

Moreover, there are more licenses on the way with Liminal Custody Solutions Dubai entity, “First Answer Custody FZE”, both providers of digital asset custody and wallet solutions, securing an initial approval from Dubai’s virtual asset regulatory authority (VARA).

Prior to that NorthStake a firm which offers safe, compliant and secure investment in Digital Assets for institutional investors as well as crypto staking and trading services applied and received a preliminary approval for a license from Dubai’s virtual asset regulatory authority (VARA) for a license.

 Token Bay Capital limited(“Token Bay”) is expanding its venture capital footprint in the capital of the UAE and has been granted an in-principle approval (IPA) from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) to carry out regulated activities that include managing both token and equity investments in early stage crypto start ups in the ADGM.

Subject to final regulatory approval for the grant of the Financial Services Permission (FSP), Token Bay brings niche capabilities to manage both token and equity investments in early-stage crypto start-ups under the FSRA’s Venture Capital Fund Manager (VCFM) framework.

Founded in 2021, Token Bay is a Crypto Venture Capital Fund that has adopted a regulatory-first approach from day one. Token Bay invests in start-ups building next-generation blockchain infrastructure and decentralized applications for Web3. Building on the success of its first fund, Token Bay is now launching its second fund and will continue to back outstanding entrepreneurs building infrastructure solutions for the new token economy.

In addition to Abu Dhabi, Token Bay also has offices in Hong Kong, and is strategically positioned across digital assets hubs in both the Middle East and Asia.

Founder and Managing Partner of Token Bay, Lucy Gazmararian stated, “This marks the first phase of global expansion for Token Bay, and we’re excited to have been granted the IPA in ADGM for venture capital investment in tokens as well as in equity. Blockchain technology has the potential to drive innovation through tokenization, and as blockchain networks continue to evolve, it is important that as venture capitalists we are fully equipped to support talented founders building in Web3 by directly participating in these networks and taking an ownership stake through tokens. We extend our sincerest thanks to the regulator for their forward-thinking approach and open dialogue so that we were able to reach this important milestone and establish Token Bay in one of the world’s leading international financial centers and digital assets hub.”

ADGM’s progressive regulatory framework, English common law legal framework, status as a leading centre for financial innovation and vibrant blockchain and digital assets ecosystem have attracted Token Bay to set up offices in the capital of the UAE.

Arvind Ramamurthy, Chief of Market Development at ADGM said, “We extend a warm welcome to Token Bay Capital as they join ADGM’s international financial centre and commence their establishment in Abu Dhabi, marking the beginning of their global expansion journey. ADGM is dedicated to cultivating innovation and excellence in the financial sector, particularly within the virtual asset space. With progressive regulatory frameworks that facilitate companies like Token Bay Capital, ADGM’s vibrant ecosystem stands as the optimal platform for initiating their global growth trajectory.”

Token Bay’s Venture Funds offer institutions, multi-national companies, private banks, family offices and high-net-worth individuals the opportunity to invest in an emerging asset class right at the start of a multi-decade cycle. 

Binance FZE, the Dubai entity of the biggest global virtual assets services provider and crypto exchange, has received the Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) license from Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA). This license, subsequent to the previous issuance of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) License in July 2023, marks a significant milestone for Binance.


Binance CEO Richard Teng stated, “As we secure the esteemed full market VASP License, it notably amplifies our unwavering commitment to advancing the financial landscape through compliance and innovation. This achievement embodies our dedication to transparency, regulatory compliance, and responsible growth in the dynamic digital assets domain.


Furthermore, it bears testimony to the innovative spirit of the UAE, as it continues to embrace the transformative economic implications of blockchain technology for its residents.”


The transition from an MVP License to a VASP License allows Binance FZE to extend its product offering and expand its services to the retail market, in addition to qualified and institutional investors. Binance FZE can now offer individual customers a broad portfolio of virtual asset products that includes spot trading, margin trading (for qualified users), and staking products.


Binance FZE General Manager Alex Chehade said, “This is a major milestone that validates our commitment to providing secure, compliant, and top-tier services to our users. It underlines Dubai’s position as a forward-thinking city – acknowledging and embracing the
financial potential that blockchain technology brings.”


Upon initiating operations under the new VASP License, Binance FZE will significantly enhance its current services beyond spot trading and fiat services. This license allows diversifying trading services exclusively for qualified and institutional investors only, where these segments are eligible to engage in margin and derivatives products, including futures and options. Presently, these services are strictly restricted to those that meet the qualified investor criteria.

Binance already has a license in Bahrain. Its license in UAE, follows the licensing of several other crypto exchanges including international players such as OKX, and Crypto.com. The competition just got fiercer in the UAE.

This announcement also comes as Binance sets to return to India.

Varys Capital (“Varys”) has partnered with FundRock Investment Management Services (ME) Ltd (“FundRock”), a fund management company, licensed by the FSRA, to manage a feeder fund, that will invest its assets into a Master Fund with a mandate centered around blockchain, Web3 and infrastructure. The entity is named the Varys Capital Ventures (CEIC) Limited in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

The feeder fund will invest its assets into a Master Fund (“Fund”), which was initially established as an early-stage, equity-focused venture fund with a mandate centered around blockchain innovation, Web3, and infrastructure. The Fund has identified commitments across DeFi, GameFi/Web3, Infrastructure, and Emerging Technologies, all centered around blockchain.

Varys will invest in multiple domestic companies and has entered the UAE because of the local government’s supportive directives, the country’s high level of innovation, robust local infrastructure, and forward-thinking minds. Since securing initial investment from prominent family offices, institutions, and high-net-worth investors, Varys has actively closed the gap on its $75m round.

The feeder fund’s appointed investment manager, legal counsel, fund administrator, and auditor are FundRock, Al Tamimi, Apex Fund Services (AD) Limited, and Crowe Mak LLP, respectively.

Darius Askaripour, Director of Varys Capital, said, “Due to the government’s leadership and vision, ADGM has created limitless opportunities and attracted the most brilliant and talented minds in the digital asset space. As a unique venture fund with the capacity to quantitatively execute deals, we are honoured to be a significant contributing entity in the region. We have immediate plans for deployment, adding to our high-performing portfolio and reinforcing the global appeal of the United Arab Emirates as the nation continues to expand the wide use cases of blockchain technology.”

Matthew Pykstra from FundRock, said “We are thrilled to have partnered with Varys Capital on this feeder fund and are enthusiastic about the diverse offering that the fund brings to the region”

Arvind Ramamurthy, Chief of Market Development at ADGM, added “We congratulate Varys and FundRock on joining hands to manage a feeder fund, here in the ‘Capital of Capital’ – Abu Dhabi. This initiative aligns with ADGM’s growth strategies for the digital assets space, focusing on progressive regulations and initiatives encompassing DeFi, Blockchain, and other related sub-clusters.

ADGM’s vibrant community includes a range of domestic companies in the new-age finance sector, and we look forward to this fund strategically bridging the investment gap for these companies that will foster significant growth within the sector and enhance overall industry development.”

UAE based Klickl International, a regulated open banking and virtual asset platform has announced that it has secured a full license from the Financial Services Permission (FSP) from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of the Abu Dhabi Global Market. This achievement highlights Klickl’s dedication to tackling challenges across the Web3.0 and virtual asset landscape by developing an integrated financial platform that harmoniously blends traditional finance (TradFi) with the expanding realm of cryptocurrency.

Being founded in Abu Dhabi, Klickl strategically harnesses the emirate’s progressive regulatory environment and dynamic economic backdrop. This strategic positioning enables Klickl to streamline processes, bridging the gap between traditional financial markets and the digital economy. Such an approach not only ensures smoother transitions and improved accessibility but also lays the groundwork for integrating the next one billion users into the Web3.0 ecosystem.

Klickl’s platform is uniquely designed to be destination-agnostic, operating under a decentralized global licensing scheme that empowers users across various jurisdictions. This innovative framework not only advances inclusivity in financial services but also makes a notable impact on the global virtual assets community, facilitating seamless exchanges across diverse financial domains.

Michael Zhao, CEO of Klickl, shared his vision: “Obtaining the FSP license from FSRA marks more than a regulatory milestone; it validates our vision to merge traditional finance and cryptocurrency seamlessly. Our deep-rooted presence in Abu Dhabi, a region renowned for its pioneering strides in financial innovation, has equipped us to pioneer solutions that anticipate and fulfill the diverse needs of today’s global investors.”

Zhao added, “We are grateful for the unwavering support of the Abu Dhabi Global Market and the FSRA. Their forward-thinking regulatory policies are indispensable in our quest to redefine financial infrastructure. As we move forward, Klickl is excited to continue breaking new ground, ensuring the digital economy is accessible, secure, and efficient for everyone.”

With this new licensing, Klickl is set to expand its operations, offering robust, secure, and compliant financial services that are designed to meet the needs of today’s dynamic financial landscape and tomorrow’s digital horizons.

Kikl had receive preliminary approval back in September 2022.


backed by $30 million in capital. Triton Liquid a digital assets hedge fund, with its global headquarters in Abu Dhabi and has received an In-Principal Approval for an FSP, from the Financial Services Regulators (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

As per ADGM press release, the launch will provide a best-in-class, tailored platform for Middle Eastern investors seeking to capitalize on the growth of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency adoption.

Seeded with $30M from Tier 1 VC, FJ Labs, Triton Liquid is backed by New York-based FJ Labs which has previously invested in Alibaba, Stripe, Revolut, Klarna and financial wellness company ABHI.

As the UAE emerges as a globally recognized centre for digital assets innovation and demand for tokens grows, Triton Liquid is poised to provide investors with access to token liquidity, rigorous data-driven digital assets analysis, and robust portfolio diversification.

Founded by MIT and Princeton alumni, Triton Liquid’s methodology combines fundamental venture capital (VC) principles with deep proprietary data analysis to invest in liquid tokens across the entire digital asset landscape. The result is a portfolio that generates venture-like returns with public markets’ liquidity.

Their investment edge is that they have built proprietary dashboards over the past two years that track relevant metrics across 24 digital asset verticals and combine it with ⁠VC-style due diligence with 20+ page deal memos for each project. Unlike traditional venture and equity investment models, where performance projects are based on retrospective quarterly or half-yearly earnings, Triton Liquid tracks live, open-source data, generating real-time insights and forecasts, equipping investors with far greater oversight and transparency.

This strategy was developed by their digital assets-native team that has built crypto products, decentralized exchanges, and digital asset hedge funds prior, where the fund partner has invested across three crypto investment cycles.

As of March 2024, Triton realized a 108% return since inception, after increasing their market exposure from 20% to 100% since November 2023.

Fabrice Grinda, Founder Partner at FJ Labs, comments; “Digital assets is the ultimate network effect business and a perfect complement to our core efforts. We believe that Triton’s proprietary evaluation process will offer venture-style returns in this emerging asset class, and we are delighted to be part of the Triton story in ADGM’s burgeoning digital assets ecosystem.”

Chris Keshian, Founder and CIO of Triton Liquid – and formerly FJ Labs’ Head of Liquid Digital Assets – is the architect of the fund and its liquid token strategy. Based in Abu Dhabi, Chris will be responsible for building and scaling operations in the region and driving the overall growth of the business.

Chris a true digital asset native, has been an active investor and trader in the cryptocurrency space since 2013. In 2014, he co-founded the first fiat gateway onto Ethereum, showcasing his acute understanding of emerging blockchain technologies. Building on this success, Chris further established a long/short cryptocurrency-focused hedge fund in San Francisco in 2016. Today, he is bringing his extensive experience to Abu Dhabi’s thriving digital assets ecosystem

Chris Keshian, Founder and Chief Investment Officer at Triton Liquid says: “The liquid digital assets market has evolved rapidly over the last ten years, and now sits at the cross-section of venture investing and public equity investing. Most projects are early stages but have an actively traded token that represents ownership or value accrual for the company. As such, through applying a venture style research process with a public equity style data due diligence and rebalancing process, we have created a strategy which we believe provides the best exposure to the growth and liquidity of this asset class.”

“The UAE is undoubtedly becoming the global hub for digital assets and the broader DeFi industry,” Chris adds. “The fintech ecosystem in the UAE is more vibrant than ever, and we look forward to playing an active role in its continued evolution. The UAE’s visionary leadership, financial services pedigree and constant drive for fintech innovation make this market a perfect fit for us. Our launch today marks a major milestone for our company and a crucial inflection point in our growth journey, one which we are delighted to share with our partners at ADGM.”

In an interview with Zawya, Keshian stated, “We invest in projects on a category basis. I assess 12 projects that are all competing and trying to do the same thing, then I would decide which of these will win and invest accordingly.” Investments so far include Synthetix – a derivatives liquidity protocol for derivatives trading in decentralized finance – and blockchain platform Solana.

He concludes when asked why he chose UAE, “It will be one of the three jurisdictions along with Hong Kong and Singapore that capture the lion’s share of entrepreneurs and people and funds who want this to see this become a real asset class,” Keshian said.