UAE regulated crypto digital asset exchange Fasset has launched its official application in the UAE. Fasset received a VARA (Dubai’s virtual asset regulatory authority) license in November 2023.

The app’s launch in the UAE is a strategic step for Fasset, following a successful launch in Indonesia last year, where it attracted over one million users within the first week. Fasset allows users to carry out spot trading and investment services in cryptocurrencies, stablecoins and tokenized real-world assets.

On the educational front the application includes Fasset Play, designed to offer a risk-free learning environment for users to hone their investment skills. This initiative aligns with Fasset’s mission to democratize access to financial services, enabling a wider audience to explore and manage their wealth.

Fasset CEO Mohammad Raafi Hossain commented, “UAE is experiencing a surge in digital asset investment as the government promotes innovation and entrepreneurship in the country. We are happy to extend our secure and transparent platform to customers in the UAE. Our goal is to empower people to have universal access to financial services, so they have more opportunities to build and manage their wealth.”

Fasset’s strategic partnerships have been instrumental in its rapid growth. In Indonesia, the company partnered with Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison to launch the world’s first embedded digital asset exchange in a telco app, reaching over 100 million users. Additionally, Fasset collaborated with Mastercard to introduce a crypto card for users in the region.

Fasset has raised a total of $26.7 million in funding. This includes a significant $22 million raised in a Series A funding round in April 2022, led by Liberty City Ventures from New York and Fatima Gobi Ventures from Pakistan, with additional participation from Soma Capital and MyAsiaVC. Before this, Fasset raised $4.7 million across two rounds, including seed funding from Dubai’s Ceras Ventures in May 2021.

Tungsten headquartered in UAE has officially launched the first home grown and regulated crypto custodian after receiving a license from UAE’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) to operate at the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). The platform is designed to store digital assets securely for institutional investors.

Over 12 months to July 2023, the value of digital assets received by the UAE was over US$34.9 billion (Chainalysis). Approximately 67%, or around US$23 billion in transactions, was carried out by institutional investors, demonstrating a significant opportunity for specialist digital assets custody.

As a regulated custodian, Tungsten aims to provide peace of mind for institutions investing in digital assets, including cryptocurrency. 

Arvind Ramamurthy, Chief of Market Development at ADGM said, “We congratulate and welcome Tungsten to Abu Dhabi’s international financial centre, ADGM. As much as the ever-evolving digital asset space needs regulatory controls to protect investors, it also needs risk management services that enable them to understand and invest securely. The concept of Tungsten revolves around this and allows it to harness the opportunities within this industry. As custodian of virtual assets, Tungsten’s offerings, coupled with ADGM’s vibrant ecosystem and progressive regulations for digital assets, will empower investors and maintain market integrity with robust solutions.”

Chris Desjardins, Tungsten Founder and Senior Executive Officer said: Digital assets present unprecedented opportunities across generations, yet the cornerstone of realising their potential lies in establishing a trusted investment environment. The UAE is at the forefront of this transformation, crafting a robust framework for digital assets that not only sets a global benchmark but also positions it as a pioneering force in the finance sector of tomorrow. Our immense pride stems from being developed and regulated within the UAE, a testament to our commitment to excellence and innovation in this dynamic landscape.”

Tungsten provides secure, regulated crypto custody so clients can confidently invest in digital assets. It is led by Chris Desjardins, an industry veteran with deep knowledge and experience in building and growing digital assets and cryptocurrency solutions. Previously, he co-founded Big Index, a Canadian institutional crypto wallet technology provider successfully acquired by Brane Inc., where he became Head of Product. Through his leadership, Tungsten sets an unparalleled benchmark for digital asset custody.

Tungsten is independent and segregated from other digital asset services, such as the trading of crypto assets, focusing purely on safeguarding clients’ digital assets. The business ensures secure online and offline procedures, including bank-grade physical vaults, enterprise-grade wallet management and world-class network hardware. Additionally, clients benefit from strong governance and high insurance coverage, providing utmost reassurance to institutional investors.

Over 2024, Tungsten, the UAE homegrown crypto custodian will scale customer acquisition, catering to a growing demand from regional institutional investors, family offices, asset managers, and high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs).

Tungsten had previously started hiring for key positions and as per their press release will continue to.

In a recent LinkedIn post, Talal Tabbaa, Co-Founder and CEO at CoinMENA, a regulated crypto broker in both UAE and Bahrain noted that the crypto exchange witnessed all-time high in crypto trading volume in February 2024.

As he stated, “CoinMENA hit an all-time high in trading volume this February, surpassing January by 80%. January itself set a record with a 64% increase from December.”

Interestingly he added that the majority of this volume came from institutions, family offices, and high net worth individuals. He adds, “The majority of this volume came from institutions, family offices, and high-net worth individuals. Retail is picking up, but nowhere near 2021 levels. Google Trends and Coinbase App Store ranking confirm similar trends. 2024 could be the biggest year in bitcoin yet because this is unprecedented in the history of finance.”

His comments on increased institutional interest is backed up by Philippe Bekhazi, CEO of XBTO global who recently told Fastcompany ME media platform that there’s a clear uptake in institutional investments in the international and UAE cryptocurrency markets, with 64% of institutions planning to increase their digital asset allocations in the next three years.

“This maturing market environment influences institutional investors by offering a diversified and technologically advanced investment landscape, enabled by the entry of specialized and regulated digital asset players in the UAE ecosystem,” says Philippe Bekhazi, CEO at XBTO Global.

Tabbaa believes that for the first time, increasing demand is meeting fixed supply. He gives example of ETFs which are alone purchasing over 11,000 BTC, while the daily issuance of Bitcoin is 900 BTC. So there is an obvious shortage.  

This is not just happening in the MENA region, rising bitcoin (BTC) prices have revived a crypto trading frenzy in South Korea, with volumes on local exchanges crossing those in the local stock market. Local media reported that trading volumes on South Korea-based crypto exchanges totalled a record 11.8 trillion won (KRW) on Sunday, or $9 billion at the going USD-KRW exchange rate. These topped Friday’s South Korean stock trading volume of 11.47 trillion won, or $8.7 billion.

CC Data noted that In February, the combined spot and derivatives trading volume on centralized exchanges rose 2.28% to $4.73tn as trading activity remains at a heightened level with Bitcoin nearing new all-time highs.

Tabbaa explains, “ETFs are buying up 12x the daily supply of bitcoin. The halving coming up in April will cut the daily issuance to 450 BTC. Bitcoin price is 9% away from an all-time high. Eventually, everyone will want access to the best-performing asset class in the world.”

He believes that given that Bitcoin price is at an all-time high, and the halving is 36 days away, increasing demand will meet decreasing supply.

With Bitcoin at $73,000 it seems he just might be right!

M2, the UAE regulated crypto exchange has launched a token loyalty reward program. By simply holding MMX tokens, users win a guaranteed share of up to 300,000 USDT. The campaign aims to reward al MMX token holder on M2 exchange.

The campaign, which runs March 8th to April 19th, offers participants the chance to win their share of a 300,000 USDT simply by holding MMX tokens in their M2 wallet.

How does it work? It is simple, hold a minimum of 200 MMX tokens in a M2 wallet to qualify for entry into the draws. The more MMX tokens held, the greater your chances of winning. Existing MMX holders are automatically eligible for the draw from the campaign’s launch date. New customers can join the campaign by purchasing 200 MMX tokens during the campaign period.

Weekly Draws Schedule:

• 15th March: 20,000 USDT draw – top prize 2,000 USDT

• 22nd March: 30,000 USDT draw – top prize 3,000 USDT

• 29th March: 40,000 USDT draw – top prize 4,000 USDT

• 5th April: 50,000 USDT draw – top prize 5,000 USDT

• 12th April: 60,000 USDT draw – top prize 6,000 USDT

• 19th April: 100,000 USDT draw – top prize 10,000 USDT

The campaign will conclude with a final draw on April 19th at the Token2049 event in Dubai, featuring a top prize of 10,000 USDT from a guaranteed prize pool of 100,000 USDT.

“Our MMX token promotion campaign underscores our commitment to rewarding our loyal community members and driving engagement within the MMX ecosystem,” said Stefan Kimmel, CEO of M2. “We’re excited to offer this exclusive opportunity to our valued MMX holders and look forward to seeing the positive impact it has on our community.”

To qualify for the MMX Loyalty Rewards, participants are required to hold their MMX tokens within an M2 wallet. All M2, MMX holders, whether existing or new, are eligible to participate in the campaign from the day of its launch subject to the exclusions specified in the Terms and Conditions. This inclusive approach ensures that all members of the MMX community have the opportunity to take part and potentially win big.

To participate in the campaign, MMX holders simply need to ensure they hold a minimum of 200 MMX tokens in their M2 wallet. Existing holders are automatically entered into the draw, while new customers can join by purchasing 200 MMX tokens during the campaign period.

This offer is from M2 Global Wealth Limited, a registered Digital Asset Business regulated and authorized by the Securities Commission of The Bahamas. It is not a product offered by M2 Limited; M2 Custody Limited, which is regulated and licensed by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Abu Dhabi Global Market.

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.

UAE organically incubated, digital assets custodian, Tungsten, regulated under the FSRA (Financial Services Regulatory Authority) in ADGM is on a hiring spree.

Tungsten, according to Further Ventures, UAE Venture Capital firm, and its incubator, is a 100% UAE sovereign digital asset custodian that offers secure and regulated custody service.  It is also backed by an Abu Dhabi Sovereign Wealth fund.

As per Tungsten, “ We are on a mission to create the most advanced digital assets custody and treasury services for our clients, helping them to become self-sovereign organizations with strong mechanisms for access control, multi-tier and multi-factor authentication, no single points of failure, and advanced transactional risk management.”

Tungsten goes on to note, “Our offering will be insured by global underwriters, regulated exclusively by ADGM (Abu Dhabi Global Markets), and host its core services in a Tier IV data center with 24/7 physical security.”

Tungsten is custodian of virtual assets that protects client funds from geo-political, regulatory, and cloud risk by operating a fully private physical and application infrastructure out of the most secure facilities in the world.

The website states that Tungsten goes beyond custody, their integrations span exchanges, liquidity providers, analytics, tokenization, and more, providing a holistic solution.

The company is founded by Christian Desjardins, Co-Founder and CEO , as well as Jose J. Perez Aguinaga as the Co-Founder and CTO.

Tungsten is currently hiring an assistant Manager-Deputy MLRO.

In the advert for the position it states that Tungsten, backed by an Abu Dhabi Sovereign Wealth Fund has expansion plans across the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

The job advert notes, “We aim to redefine the landscape of secure, user-friendly virtual asset custody solutions. Our commitment is to unparalleled security, reliability, and ease of use, positioning Tungsten as the preferred choice for institutions managing their virtual assets.”

Tungsten is looking for Assistant Manager – Deputy MLRO, to support the Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO) in implementing and managing their anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) framework.

This comes as more and more Blockchain and digital asset entities launch from ADGM in UAE.

This article was updated on Feb 27th 2024. Update concerned founding members.

UAE based MintLayer, a layer 2 blockchain that utilizes Dynamic Slot Allocation (DSA) consensus merging Proof-Of-Stake and Bitcoin technologies to make decentralized financial markets attack-proof,  will be launching its mainnet on January 29th 2024 and is planning tokenize real-estate assets starting from Dubai UAE.

Already MintLayer has received investments from a substantial number of venture capitalists including some residing in the UAE such as Phoenix crypto VC, Sheesha Finance, Varys Capital and others.

Zaid Ismail Chief Operations officer at MintLayer, based out of Dubai UAE, on LinkedIn states,“ 90% of the world’s millionaires made their fortunes through real estate, but it’s highly inaccessible, illiquid, and complicated – that’s where MintLayer comes in! Starting with Dubai, we are on a mission to fractionalize real estate ownership one country at a time.”

In an interview on Bitcoin News, he discussed how tokenized real-world assets are an appealing portfolio for modern investors.

He told Bitcoin News that despite recently garnering much of the world’s attention, traditional exchange-traded funds (ETFs), including spot Bitcoin ETFs, are still inferior to tokenized real-world assets (RWA).

He added,” Tokenized RWAs also come with increased transparency, reduced costs, and direct ownership making them a more versatile and appealing choice for modern investors seeking portfolio diversification.”

He notes in the interview that traditional finance institutions are also starting to get involved in tokenized RWAs. They are testing the waters and will need to work with regulators to adapt existing regulations to the changing landscape.

Ismail emphasizes that with MintLayer the process is simplified, reducing hassles for asset owners. With MintLayer, tokenization is embedded and simple, so non-technical users can issue tokens easily without having to use deployment contracts like on Ethereum.

Additionally, Mintlayer Institutional is building a SaaS platform for institutional clients that will help to simplify the process of issuing, monitoring and dealing with all the compliance aspects required for tokenization.

The MintLayer network, and its UTXO infrastructure, allows batching multiple transactions into a single one, saving space and lowering the fees. Furthermore, their HTLC smart contract embedded in MintLayer will allow atomic swaps and lightning network integration, allowing a way to route transactions on a peer-to-peer network that doesn’t require it to be permanently saved forever on the blockchain.

Mintlayer has a  low node requirements are pivotal in fostering a more inclusive and decentralized network allowing anyone with a standard PC, or even a Raspberry Pi, can run a node is a testament to the democratization of blockchain technology.

UAE based SEBA digital assets crypto bank has renamed itself AMINA Bank AG, which comes from the word transAMINAtion’, meaning transference of one compound to another. As per the press release, AMINA is a brand driven by perpetual change, bringing together the various ‘compounds’ of traditional, digital, and crypto banking to unlock new potential and growth for their clients

The group operates globally from its regulated hubs in Zug, Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong, offering its clients traditional and crypto banking services, and the entities will be seeking renaming in all of these operations.

SEBA Bank made history in 2019 by becoming one of the first FINMA-regulated institutions to provide crypto banking services. This rebrand marks a new chapter for the company, which has proudly been in operation for more than four years.

Franz Bergmueller, CEO of AMINA, stated, “We are delighted to introduce the world to our new brand identity. While we say goodbye to the SEBA name, we remain forever proud of the achievements made by the group under the former brand. Our brand signifies a new era in the company’s growth and strategy; we are a key player in crypto banking and are here to define the future of finance. With our client-focused approach, our years of traversing traditional and crypto finance, we offer a platform for investors to build wealth safely and under the highest regulatory standards.”

AMINA bank seeks to expand it growth in strategic hubs in Abu Dhabi, Switzerland and Hong Kong while continuing its global expansion in 2024.

Paxos,, a regulated blockchain & tokenization infrastructure platform has secured the in-principle approvals (IPAs) of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) for the necessary Financial Services Permissions to issue US dollar and other currency-backed stablecoins, as well as to offer crypto-brokerage and custody services from two regulated ADGM entities. Upon receiving full approval, Paxos will continue to expand the global footprint of their regulated USD-backed stablecoins.

Stablecoins issued with prudential oversight from established and reputable regulators represent a significant step towards democratizing access to commerce and financial services. Paxos is committed to integrity and transparency in its operations and the company will only issue tokens that are subject to oversight by prudential regulators. By also securing oversight for its custody and digital asset infrastructure solutions, Paxos services that are provided out of the ADGM will be comprehensively regulated by the FSRA.

As per the press release,this milestone solidifies Paxos’ position as the most comprehensively regulated blockchain platform in the world, meeting the highest operating standards in New York, Singapore and the ADGM.

Walter Hessert, Paxos Head of Strategy, commented, “Blockchain technology is revolutionizing the global financial system to be more open, secure and innovative. Today’s announcement marks yet another milestone in Paxos’ ability to provide billions of users with safe and trusted digital asset services. Our IPAs from the FSRA, on the heels of our IPA from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, solidify our commitment to pursuing international growth through regulated frameworks. Paxos is unique in the industry for this approach and we will continue expanding our regulatory licensing to serve global enterprises as a trusted, innovative partner.”

By leveraging blockchain technology, Paxos aims to open the financial system to everyone, creating more access and freedom for billions of people around the world. As Paxos continues to lead the way in digital asset innovation, the company remains committed to its mission of building a more inclusive and accessible financial future.

IOTA DLT Foundation announced that it has been registered as the first foundation under the DLT Foundations Regulations at ADGM ( Abu Dhabi Global Markets. As per their blog, his landmark achievement positions IOTA at the forefront of digital and real-world convergence in the financial sector in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region and globally.

The IOTA Ecosystem DLT Foundation will be seeded with over $100 million in IOTA tokens, to be vested over the next four years. This funding is earmarked for nurturing the IOTA ecosystem and accelerating the growth of the IOTA protocol. In line with its community-driven ethos, the IOTA Ecosystem DLT Foundation will foster valuable partnerships in the region to advance the adoption of IOTA and its staging network Shimmer, across various sectors.

As per the blog, this will include collaboration with institutional investors, governments, and academic institutions for the tokenization of real-world assets and bringing them on-chain, thus bringing billions of dollars into the UAE’s virtual assets space.

Hamad Sayah Al Mazrouei, CEO of the Registration Authority (RA) of ADGM said, “Welcoming IOTA, one of the most established and well-respected blockchain protocols into ADGM’s DLT regime exemplifies our ambition to position Abu Dhabi’s stature as a prime location and ADGM as the leading jurisdiction for the blockchain industry. It is a strong validation of ADGM’s progress with its new and revolutionary DLT Foundations Framework. Working with companies like IOTA, ADGM aims to move towards a future characterized by setting global benchmarks in the ever-evolving blockchain and Web3 landscape”.

“The IOTA Foundation’s support from ADGM and our partnership with UAE authorities is about more than global expansion. It’s about ushering in a new era of regulatory synergy in the crypto markets,” said Dominik Schiener, Co-Founder and Chairman of the IOTA Foundation. “We want to ensure that we take the right steps toward digital autonomy for everyone, and that means making sure a diversity of communities take an active role in shaping the Foundation’s technology and governance.”

In early November 2023, IOTA stated it would be launching its DLT Foundation in Abu Dhabi UAE soon.