The Swiss based Crypto Valley Association; a nonprofit crypto and blockchain ecosystem announced that the Bahrain Economic Development Board, which focuses on attracting investments to Bahrain, has become its latest member.

As per the announcement, the association noted, “We are beyond excited to announce Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) as our newest corporate member!”

Bahrain Economic Development Board collaborates with government bodies and investors globally to identify and cultivate mutually beneficial opportunities, actively contributing to Bahrain’s economic diversification and sustainable growth.

The Crypto Valley Association is known as Switzerland’s leading blockchain & crypto ecosystem. It has been fostering collaboration and growth in the global blockchain ecosystem since 2017.

Bahrain was the first country in the GCC to incorporate crypto exchanges under a regulatory regime. It currently has three licensed crypto exchanges and brokers, including RAIN, Binance and CoinMENA.

It seems Bahrain is gearing towards attracting more crypto and blockchain companies to the country in 2024.

Swiss based Copper, an institutional digital asset infrastructure provider focusing on custody and collateral management, has acquired  Abu Dhabi based Securrency Capital Limited, a full-service, regulated blockchain-enabled brokerage firm offering digital securities trading based in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), making its entry into the UAE market.

This comes just after The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, an American post-trade financial services company providing clearing and settlement services to the financial markets known as DTCC, signed a definitive agreement to acquire Abu Dhabi based Securrency Inc. (“Securrency”), a leading developer of institutional-grade, digital asset infrastructure invested in by Mubadala sovereign Fund.

The two entities Securrency and Securrency Capital have been sold to other institutions just months apart. Securrency Capital Limited is a full-service regulated institutional brokerage firm that offers both traditional and digital financial services. Its mission is to deliver asset tokenization benefits to retail and institutional clients by providing access to multiple digital products and asset classes through a single, easily accessible marketplace

While Securrency is an institutional-grade digital asset infrastructure provider that offers  solutions to market participants to facilitate the trading, settlement and servicing of digital securities and assets.

Securrency Capital’s platform is powered by Securrency, allowing it to provide investors with access to global securities, delivering 24/7 trading with near-real time settlement. In addition, the tokenisation of traditional securities enables increased investor access and simpler, more efficient value chain management through automation.

Operating out of ADGM and supervised by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), Securrency Capital Limited will be renamed Copper Securities Limited and will remain headquartered in the ADGM.

Dmitry Tokarev, CEO and Founder of Copper, said: “Through this acquisition, Copper is able to grow its role as a global digital asset infrastructure provider and establish a stronger footprint in the United Arab Emirates. This is just the beginning of our expansion into the Middle East.”

John Hensel, Co-founder & COO of Securrency, Inc, said: “I am thrilled to announce Securrency Capital’s acquisition by Copper. We look forward to working with Dmitry and team as they serve the rapidly growing Abu Dhabi Global Market.”

Broadhaven Capital Partners acted as an adviser to Copper on the deal.

The Oman blockchain ID tech startup, Nashid has been selected by Swiss Tech4trust accelerator to participate in their program out of Trust Valley of Lausanne, Switzerland.

Nashid’s acceptance into Tech4Trust’s latest season underscores their pioneering approach to harnessing blockchain technology for Identity and Verifiable Credentials.

“Being part of Tech4Trust is a significant stride towards our global expansion ambitions,” shared Ahmed Al Marjeby, Co-founder and CEO of Nashid. “We are enthusiastic about collaborating with a global community, extracting invaluable insights, and honing our solutions to meet the demands of the rapidly evolving digital trust sphere.”

In 2020, co-founder Ahmed Al Marjeby found his online identity had been hacked. Al Marjeby found the fact that paper-based identity documents cannot be verified digitally. Motivated by this event and recognizing the urgent need for secure digital identity solutions, Ahmed, together with Mahmood Al Lawati, launched Nashid in 2022.

Tech4Trust will offer Nashid a golden opportunity to liaise with international experts, regulators, and government agencies.  This collaboration will also open doors to the broader Swiss and European markets, presenting unmatched potential for growth.

The startup previously secured an investment from the Oman Technology Fund and won awards in the Entrepreneurship World Cup 2022 and the GISCO Startup Competition.

UAE Crypto Oasis partners with Swiss Crypto Valley for WEB3FEST 2023 6 day festival between September 12th-17th in Zug and Zurich.

The Swiss WEB3FEST serves as a testament to their shared vision of ushering in the future of the internet. Crypto Valley, known for its pioneering role in blockchain and decentralized technologies in Switzerland and Lichtenstein, and the Crypto Oasis in MENA, a thriving hub for innovation, growth, and advancement, come together to present an event that encapsulates the essence of Web3.

Web3 encapsulates the upcoming phase of the internet, encompassing a spectrum of cutting-edge technologies including AI, Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies, Gaming, Sustainability, IoT, Metaverse, NFTs, and beyond.

Ralf Glabischnig, initiator of WEB3FEST, commented: “Our vision for this festival is to combine the exceptional potential of both Crypto Valley and Crypto Oasis. Switzerland is an outstanding location for founders looking to provide a regulatory home for their blockchain and Web3 startups. The Middle East offers a brilliant platform for these startups to scale internationally. With the launch of WEB3FEST, we aim to establish an annual Web3 event series worldwide.”

The festival sets off from September 12th to immerse participants and attendees in a dynamic journey through the diverse themes that define the Web3 realm.

NFT ART DAY: The festival’s curtain raiser on September 12th in Zug, will be a comprehensive survey exhibition of the Swiss NFT art scene and the inauguration of the Swiss NFT Timeline.

Web3 Gaming and Metaverse: The event’s second day invites attendees to dive into the realm of Web3 gaming and Metaverse projects. Engage with innovators and founders while gaining a deeper understanding of Internet Computer’s role in shaping the future of gaming. This will be followed by a tribute concert to Amy Winehouse combined with an AI-generated experience at the renowned Volkshaus Zurich.

Sustainability and Innovation: On the third day, the spotlight shifts to sustainability, and the role of AI and Web3 in building it. The European launch of The Green Block initiative, which underscores the festival’s commitment to sustainability and lines up to the launch of the first The Green Block report leading up to COP28 in the UAE.

 

Deep Dive Crypto Valley: Day four unravels the history of Crypto Valley in Zug with a deep dive into the ecosystem, with a focus on protocols and regulated digital assets businesses, where attendees can connect with the minds behind this vibrant blockchain hub. Engage in discussions with opinion leaders and investors over an exclusive brunch, lunch, or dinner that follows.

Ecosystem Unconference: Saturday, September 16th is all about connection and collaboration and open to the public to showcase tangible products and experiences. The Ecosystem Unconference, together with the Swiss NFT Association, welcomes forward thinkers from various domains. The Entire FIVE Hotel Zurich will be divided into experience areas focusing on AI, DeFi, Education, Longevity, Sustainability, NFTs, Real-world Assets, Gaming, and the Metaverse. This day will also witness the unveiling of the FIVE Zurich Metaverse by Pulse World.

Curtain Closer: The grand finale of the WEB3FEST will be a Networking Event on Sunday at the FIVE in Zurich. Attendees will have the opportunity to network over brunch and later by the pool, providing a relaxed setting to reflect on the festival, forge new connections, and plan for the year ahead. It’s the perfect ending to a week of innovation and collaboration.

The Swiss WEB3FEST is initiated by Inacta Ventures, Crypto Oasis Ventures, The Crypto Valley Association, and Trust Square, co-hosted by The Internet Computer, and is supported by the City and Canton of Zug in Switzerland.

Prior to this Crypto Oasis had announced that the orbs for WorldCoin ID verification were present at the crypto Oasis DIFC Innovation Hub office in Dubai.

As per Crypto Oasis post on LinkedIn,” We are currently supporting Worldcoin’s launch and spread across the UAE. Worldcoin is dramatically increasing access to World ID—the digital identity protocol powered by the Worldcoin ecosystem.”

Ornella Hernandez from Web3TV got scanned by a Worldcoin “orb” and signed up for a digital ID via the World App.

WorldCoin had announced in July 2023 that its orbs were available in the UAE.

IslamicCoin, issued by HAQQ Blockchain ( Haqq means truth in Arabic), which is Shariah compliant has raised another $200 million from Alpha Blue Ocean’s ABO Digital. As such the total funding now stands at $400 million.

The founders of Haqq Network include two prominent UAE banking experts. The network aim to cater to the world’s 1.9 billion Muslims. IslamicCoin was presented at the UN’s Cop27 in Egypt and was recognized as the Most Promising ESG Crypto at the Abu Dhabi Blockchain Awards, the Executive Team has received unwavering international support from both private investors, funds as well as the financial world.

The latest partnership will entail introducing Islamic Coin to the ABO network of investors and helping the team structure innovative Shariah-compliant financial products that could be used in the digital asset space to raise alternative funding. The deal provides for access to a maximum of $200M as and when required and ensures Islamic Coin has a long and stable runway.

“ABO Digital is thrilled to collaborate with Islamic Coin as an alternative finance provider. This ambitious project, supported by a stellar team, is revolutionizing the Shariah-compliant market by introducing digitization. We are honored to have been selected as a partner,” commented ABO Digital CEO Amine Nedjai.

The alliance comes on the heels of another major win for the team, as it signed an MOU with London based DDCAP Group, paving the way for Haqq Network integration with over 300 global Islamic banks. That partnership will see the development of a number of solutions for Islamic Finance that include a Shariah-compliant Web3 alternative to SWIFT, a digital asset platform, CBDCs, tokenization and other ventures.

“We are building a game-changing financial platform that brings together ethics and the traditions of Islamic Finance, delivering a robust solution that benefits and works together with traditional systems to significantly improve the state of the world,” commented Islamic Coin co-founder Mohammed AlKaff AlHashmi.

The Advisory Board of IslamicCoin is represented by Abu Dhabi and Dubai Ruling Families, including the grandson of UAE founder Sheikh Dr. Hazza bin Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Navy Chief Sheikh Saeed bin Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Nahyan (advising in private capacity), Sheikh Khalifa Bin Mohammed bin Khalid Al Nahyan, Sheikh Mohammad Bin Khalifa Bin Mohammad Bin Khalid Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Juma bin Maktoum Al Maktoum and Her Highness Sheikha Mariam Suhail Obaid Suhail Al Maktoum. The team also boasts top names in traditional and Islamic finance. Islamic Coin’s Executive Board includes Emaar’s Hussein Al Meeza (who is also a co-founder), an award-winning banker with over 45 years of experience spanning the Islamic banking, finance, and insurance sectors, one of the key personalities involved in establishing Dubai Islamic Bank — the first fully-fledged Islamic Bank in the world. The Executive Board also includes Greg Gigliotti, CEO, Chief Investment Officer, and Founding Partner of Xtellus Advisors, a respected fund manager with experience at Goldman Sachs and other global institutions with a portfolio of over $16 Billion during his career.

Islamic Coin will be listed on exchanges soon.

World Economic Forum report entitled “  Pathways to the Regulation of Crypto-Assets”  says UAE crypto asset regulatory framework is an agile one,  defining it as flexible, iterative and proactive which is beneficial because it is flexible, appreciate market maturity and ecosystem development.

According to the WEF report, regulators that fall under this model include the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority. FINMA’s token classification prescribes three simple categories: payment tokens, utility tokens and asset tokens. The framework acknowledges hybrid tokens and that a token’s classification may change over time. Following the first classification, FINMA later also published further guidance in

Also included as per the report are the regulatory sandboxes in the EU and India in addition to the UAE. 

Instead of prescribing and enforcing rules, agile regulation adopts a responsive, iterative approach, acknowledging that policy and regulatory development is no longer limited to governments but is increasingly a multi-stakeholder effort. Yet it also faces challenges that include the need for coordination and collaboration being as well plagued with uncertainty. 

Regulatory sandboxes, guidance and regulators’ no-objection letters are all forms of agile regulation that enable the testing of new types of solutions, iterating policy frameworks based on ecosystem evolution and industry needs.

The report sets out to understand and highlight the needs and challenges in developing a global approach to crypto-asset regulation. In doing so, it delves into the various regulatory approaches being adopted by different jurisdictions.

The report developed rankings for each regulatory framework. The rankings covered four areas when analyzing regulatory frameworks and found that the agile regulatory framework is best at promoting innovation. Agile regulatory framework ranks in the middle ground for providing certainty for businesses, addressing data gaps and enforcement effectiveness.

The report finds for example that Regulation by enforcement which the USA falls under is weak in all the above mentioned areas except for enforcement effectiveness.

As per the report the UAE has not only initiated a license regime for crypto assets, but has also carried out consultation for decentralized applications such as DeFi, and DAOs.

In addition the report mentions that few jurisdictions have chosen to address the difficulty of classifying tokens, partially relying instead on the functionality enabled by the token.

For example, Liechtenstein has chosen not to rely solely on classifications but to introduce the token as such as an element in Liechtenstein Law, meaning that the right or asset represented in the token triggers the application of special laws (the so-called “token container model”). This means that the tokenization as such has no legal effect: if a financial instrument is tokenized, the financial market laws are applicable if the activity is regulated, too; if a commodity is tokenized, the laws for commodity trading might be applicable; and so on. For new instruments, such as utility coins and virtual currencies, a new regulation has to be defined.

While in the UAE, the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority in Dubai has put forth a framework that is underpinned by overarching regulations and compulsory rulebooks, segregating activities-based rulebooks to rapidly account for novel products, emerging technologies, and new business models that require regulatory capture.

The paper’s findings reinforce the urgent need for policymakers and regulators to collaborate with industry and users to realize the benefits while addressing the risks involved.

Enforcement is still weak globally. For example in the context of AML supervision of crypto-assets, a Bank for International Settlements (BIS) 2021 survey found that oversight remained nascent globally. As stated, “Although many are at different stages, with some countries still finalizing applicable law and policy and a small portion engaging in active supervision, by and large effective enforcement measures remain a work in progress. The result is a complex tapestry of enforcement trends as well as enforcement risks posed by the cross-jurisdictional influence of crypto-assets.”

Even when it comes to the FATF travel rule implementations are also limited. As noted in FATF’s June 2022 targeted update report, interoperability across technical solutions and across jurisdictions is still lacking.

WEF report as such notes that such fragmented enforcement techniques will pose a challenge to the supervision and monitoring of crypto-assets against regulations in the short term and may take many years to standardize.

The report recommends promoting a harmonized understanding of taxonomy/classification of crypto assets and activities, set out best practices and baseline regulatory standards for achieving the desired regulatory outcomes and encourage passportability of entities and data sharing.

Building on this foundational paper, the World Economic Forum’s Blockchain and Digital Assets team will launch an initiative focused on evaluating the outcomes of different regional approaches to regulation. This effort will convene public- and private-sector leaders to reveal first-hand learning’s and the unintended consequences.

But not everyone shares the WEF reports belief that International crypto regulations and standards are possible.  During the Qatar Economic Forum this week, Peter Smith Co-Founder and CEO of Blockchain.com rejected claims of a “United Nations” of crypto as inconceivable. He stated, “A global system to regulate cryptocurrency is unlikely to exist.”

However, the Blockchain chief recalled the recent EU passing of the world’s first comprehensive package as a step forward in cautiously regulating the cryptocurrency industry. In addition, Smith told Bloomberg that regulators that express optimistic calls to crypto would promote development for the industry.

So whether a global harmonic set of crypto assets regulations are formulated or whether regional and national countries work to build their own, the growth of crypto assets cannot be curved by regulators. 

SwissBorg, a cryptocurrency wealth management app, has launched in the UAE, to offer a secure way to invest and earn interest on assets through Web 3.0. The award-winning app’s formula for mass adoption is two-fold, simplicity and automation, to help anyone regardless of age or skills, become a community member. 

As per the press release, SwissBorg brings more than six years of expertise to the UAE, introducing a digital asset management app that takes the guesswork out of crypto investments. 

In the first year of its operation, the organization raised $54 million via a successful Initial Coin Offering across 146 countries from 25,000 individual contributors across the globe. The platform has 700,000 active users across multiple countries, having established strong relationships with various banks with fiat gateways for 16 currencies and credit cards.

 According to Gemini’s 2022 report ‘Global State of Crypto’, 35% of the UAE population have adopted some form of crypto tokens, compared to 17% uptake in developed nations. And of the part of the population that has not yet invested, 32% are likely to purchase crypto in 2023. A third of the crypto owners use it to make in-person purchases at brick-and-mortar retailers, compared to just 19% of owners globally.

Anthony Lesoismier, Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer at SwissBorg, commented on the launch, said: “We are pioneering a new era in asset management and private banking supported by blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies assets. We see cryptocurrencies as a serious investment, and our goal is to provide a variety of long-lasting crypto financial products that everyone can use to participate in the largest wealth transition in human history. The UAE serves as our perfect Middle Eastern launch pad because it is the region’s commercial, technological and cultural hub. Our extensive experience will enable UAE investors to make more confident cryptocurrency investments.”

Alexander Fazel, Chief Partnerships Officer added: “The UAE is on a trajectory to becoming the crypto capital of the world by gathering industry leaders from all corners of the globe. At SwissBorg, our goal is to be the bridge between traditional finance and decentralized finance and contribute to a world where one community will reshape centuries of broken finance. We’re at the crossroads of a new era and are forever grateful to be a part of this vibrant community. We are bringing in people from all walks of life and there is nothing more rewarding than having teenagers to senior citizens with the same purpose. SwissBorg will redesign the Bank of the Future layer by layer by educating new crypto investors in the UAE to be a part of this paradigm shift.”

SwissBorg has entered partnerships with local leaders Crypto Oasis in the UAE and is also currently raising funds in the region for a strategic round focusing on short to long-term value creation.  

SwissBorg is also one of first companies to give complete transparency on Proof of Assets and Proof of Liabilities trackable at any time in real-time using blockchain technology, creating new norms to restore trust among centralized exchanges in the wake of the recent FTX incident. 

SwissBorg seperates between custodial service and exchange, as such it does not hold custody of users’ funds and instead uses FireBlocks a trusted custodian with MPC technology.  

Binance, Kraken, LMAX, Bitfinex, and SwissBorg, are connected to the order management system (OMS), which actively searches for the best pricing for its users resulting in the platform becoming their main trading account.

 Users can start investing in three simple steps — upload their personal information and proof of identity, which is completely automated, make a deposit with their credit card or cryptos and they can then start investing.

In a recent report published by CoinCub, the UAE ranked 4th in the third quarter of 2022 as the most favourable crypto economy globally. Germany ranked 1st place, followed by Switzerland at 2nd place, then Australia in 3rd. USA ranked 7th globally.

The crypto economy rankings compiled by Coincub looked into various factors such as favorable crypto outlook, clear crypto tax rules, more transparent regulatory communications and more to rank countries.

As per the report, Germany although not a tax haven, is considered one of the strongest all-around ‘traditional-tax’ crypto economies that reward long-term crypto holders. German law charges zero tax on crypto holdings of over a year.

Switzerland ranked second with its positive crypto regulatory stance and is home to some of the top crypto organizations in the world.

Australia has shown a great appetite for crypto and the government has been equally supportive of it over the past year, pushing positive crypto legislation along with reasonable tax policy.

As per the report the UAE has enormous tax advantages and rises up on their list from 18 in Q2 2022 to 4 due to rapid turn around on all things crypto.  UAE  has a government driving it towards becoming the leading crypto economy in the Middle East with the prospect of zero taxes to pay on crypto gains for those located within the UAE’s zero tax zone. 

Singapore, on the other hand, has established itself as a crypto powerhouse in Asia, with a significant chunk of the population involved in crypto trading and investment.

The U.S dropped to the seventh spot due to its unfavourable crypto tax policy and lack of clarity on the regulatory end. However, the report highlighted that the U.S is the only country to allow crypto to form part of strategic workplace pensions. With some key crypto regulations legislature under work, the U.S could see a significant improvement in its rankings by next quarter.

In terms of growth the USA added over 100 new crypto-related companies, with the UK adding 21, Singapore 13, and Switzerland 10 in Q3 of 2022. The world also saw the addition of some 540 new crypto coins, 52 crypto exchanges of which 43 are decentralized, and 233 new crypto companies.

US still leads the top of crypto economies overall, followed by Singapore.