One year ago to date, the Abu Dhabi Global Market, (ADGM) an international financial center, based out of Abu Dhabi UAE, had announced on LinkedIn that Venom Foundation was the first licensed crypto foundation which would be building a scalable blockchain, today Venom Foundation is no longer in ADGM, but has established a new foundation in the Cayman Islands.

A year ago, ADGM was very hopeful. ADGM statement read, “Venom Foundation is set to become one of the most anticipated blockchain phenomena, enriching the ADGM community and the nation as a whole! Subject to the relevant regulatory approvals, Venom Foundation will work with ecosystem participants to ensure that such products are offered in a compliant manner within the trusted and well-regulated environment of ADGM.”

Today Venom’s announcement made on medium changes the narrative, as Venom Blockchain gears up towards its mainnet launch on March 18th 2024. The post reads, “Recently, Venom underwent a transformative phase by establishing a new foundation in the Cayman Islands. This strategic move signifies a leap forward, aligning Venom with the progressive regulatory framework of the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands (BVI). By doing so, Venom reaffirms its commitment to providing secure, reliable, and innovative cryptocurrency services to its users worldwide.”

So it would seem that either ADGM dropped Venom Foundation after all the turmoil that the entity went through in the past year, or Venom Foundation dropped ADGM license, created a new foundation, and set it up in the Cayman Islands and BVI.  

Talking about turmoil, Venom Foundation was brawled in a legal battle. In July 2023, Alibek Garcia Isaev, one of the main investors in Venom Foundation, was pushed into the center of a very controversial legal entanglement which brought a lot of criticism not only to Issaev but inadvertently Venom Blockchain, and its Foundation. He was then found innocent in December 2023.

But before the final ruling, Venom had also lost one of its very early investors and executives. Mustafa Kheriba, the Executive Chairman of Venomex, a UAE regulated crypto exchange and one of the initial investors and supporters of UAE based Venom Blockchain Foundation resigned from his position at Venom Foundation. It is noteworthy that it seems the relationship between Venomex and Venom Foundation is no longer there. Venomex looks to be a standalone entity still regulated in ADGM, while on Venom Foundation website, there is no mention of Venomex anymore. What’s more Kheriba is still a registered director according to FSRA website.

In the about section of Venom Foundation on medium, the company notes that Venom is a multi-blockchain network being a basis for scalable Web3 applications in the DeFi and Global Payments markets. Venom Foundation main priority to develop and support a self-sufficient blockchain ecosystem has attracted developers to build various projects: VenomWallet (non-custodial wallet with a multisig option and ledger support), VenomScan (to access transactions history), VenomGet (an easy gateway to Venom tokens), VenomBridge (allowing the interchain transactions), VenomPools (to stake on validator nodes), Web3.World (native decentralized exchange). No Venomex exchange is listed.

So while Venom Foundation has moved on to greener pastures, so has ADGM. It launched its new DLT regulation that would allow DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) Foundations, DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) to issue tokens. Soon afterwards, IoTa Foundation received the first DLT Foundation license.

If there is one takeaway from all this, it is that the virtual assets scene is ever changing and the regulations ever growing. So while the UAE says goodbye to Venom Foundation, as it did to Hayvn, it is welcoming many others onboard.

In a surprise move, Mustafa Kheriba, the Executive Chairman of Venomex, a UAE regulated crypto exchange and one of the initial investors and supporters of UAE based Venom Blockchain Foundation has resigned from his position at Venom Foundation.

Sources in the know confirmed this to LaraontheBlock, however Mr. Kheriba would not comment when asked about the reasons for resignation.

Prior to this in August 2023, the CEO of Venomex, Arshad Khan also resigned his position at the crypto exchange and is now a partner at UAE based Fils.

Venomex Limited is a Multilateral Trading Facility and Custodian, based in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and received FSP from Financial Services Regulatory Authority of ADGM. Venomex as such became a regulated, crypto asset exchange and custodian in the region that focuses on institutional and retail investors. The Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has given FSP to establish and operate a full-fledged MTF and digital custodian.

In terms of Venom Foundation, its chairman and Co Founder Peter Knez the former CIO at BlackRock & ex Goldman Sachs executive has been active, recently speaking at the Genesis XBT event. The event brought together market-makers, VCs, and mining industry leaders in EMEA & CIS’s leading crypto gathering. According to Knez, “ It was a fantastic opportunity for the Venom team to connect, share, and learn in the vibrant hub of Dubai’s blockchain community!”

Venom Foundation earlier this year in January had launched in partnership with Iceburg Capital a $1 billion Venom Ventures Fund.

Venom Foundation, is a  Layer-1 blockchain licensed and regulated by the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), and Iceberg Capital is an ADGM regulated investment manager. The Venom Ventures fund is a blockchain-agnostic fund that was targeting  innovative protocols and Web3 dApps, focusing on long-term trends such as payments, asset management, DeFi, banking services, and GameFi.

At the time the fund’s leadership team consisted of Peter Knez, ex-CIO at BlackRock and Mustafa Kheriba, but now given that Kheirba has resigned, it would seem he will no longer be involved in the fund as well.

Mustafa had served on the Board of Directors of several financial services and insurance companies prior to Venom Blockchain Foundation.

Venom Blockchain Foundation back in October 2022 became the first ADGM licensed crypto foundation to build a scalable blockchain platform. ADGM at the time stated, “Venom is on its way to developing an NFT marketplace, derivative exchange and fiat-backed stablecoin.”

Yet to date Venom Foundation’s only achievement was an MOU signed with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and environment to launch the first blockchain enabled national system for carbon credits, as well as the launch of their testnet.

Venom Foundation also faced some challenges in 2023 with regards to one of its early investors Alibek Garcia Issaev, which is said to have involved a UAE court case against him.

Whatever the case, it seems Venom Foundation is facing big challenges when one of its early supporters and investors resigns.

The article was updated at 14:34 Monday 27th 2023.

UAE based Venom Blockchain which recently received a license from ADGM ( Abu Dhabi Global Market)  in early October 2022, now has a regulated virtual asset exchange on its roster, Yoshi Markets,  renamed to Venomex.

In March 2022, Yoshi Markets previously known as Arabian Bourse Limited (ABX), received the Financial Services Permission (FSP) from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). The FSP allowed Yoshi Markets to operate as a Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF) and Custodian for virtual assets.

Now Yoshi Markets has renamed itself to Venomex, reflecting the recently approved Venom Blockchain platform, which will allow the provisioning of virtual assets and blockchain based services. Venom blockchain is building the first NFT marketplace in the UAE from ADGM as well as the issuance of first fiat backed stablecoin.

Mustafa Kheriba, the Executive Chairman of Venomex, stated, “This is an exciting time for us at Venomex. The new name and brand will further position Venomex as an entity that aims to harness the potential of Virtual Assets and Blockchain in a much more impactful manner. With the new name, we plan to unveil services that will have multi-faceted use cases and benefits for our customers and strategic partners alike.”

Arshad Khan, CEO of Venomex, added, “We are extremely happy to announce the new name. As the Virtual Assets landscape is shaping up in the UAE, owing to the clarity of regulations and emergence of multiple ventures in this space, we see the rebranding initiative as the first step towards becoming an end-to-end ecosystem player. I would like to thank the Venomex shareholders and the FSRA for their continuous support and guidance.”

Venomex Limited is a Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF) and Custodian, based in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and has received FSP from Financial Services Regulatory Authority of ADGM. As a virtual asset MTF and Custodian, Venomex aims to be a preferred venue for virtual assets listing, trading, settlement and custody and will offer a fully integrated ecosystem to institutional, HNI and retail investors.