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After Dubai, digital asset firm finds home in Abu Dhabi

3min Read

Laser Digital, the crypto division of the Japanese financial services giant Nomura, has secured an in-principal approval in Abu Dhabi.

After Dubai, digital asset firm finds home in Abu Dhabi

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  • Nearly two months ago, Laser Digital received a full crypto license in Dubai.
  • As per a recent Chainalysis report, the UAE leads the MENA region in crypto regulation.

Laser Digital announced on 26 September that it has obtained an in-principal approval from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

The ADGM is an international financial free zone in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Once Laser Digital meets some specific conditions, it will receive a Financial Services Permission. It will enable the firm to offer broker-dealer and asset management services with both virtual and traditional assets.

Headquartered in Switzerland, Laser Digital is the virtual asset division of the Japanese financial services giant Nomura. Nearly two months ago, it received a full crypto license from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) as well.

Abu Dhabi has the distinction of being the second emirate in the UAE where Laser Digital has secured a license.

Laser Digital CEO Jez Mohideen remarked,

“We are very grateful to have the opportunity to set up operations in ADGM; their comprehensive and clear regulatory framework is creating a global hub for digital assets that we are delighted to be joining.”

Why has the UAE been successful in attracting crypto firms?

The ADGM has been approving registration and license requests of both global and local exchanges for quite some time now.

In April 2022, the ADGM gave an in-principal approval to Binance [BNB]; in November 2022, it gave the financial services permission to the exchange. In April 2022, the body permitted the U.S.-based exchange Kraken to operate as a regulated exchange.

The ADGM licensed the Bahrain-based exchange Rain, supported by Coinbase [COIN], to operate as a virtual asset brokerage and custody service in July 2023. It awarded the financial services permission license to a local exchange, M2, in August.

Early this month, it gave an in-principal approval to the U.K.-based Zodia Markets.

Another major emirate in the UAE, Dubai also has a robust crypto policy framework due to which it has successfully attracted a number of crypto exchanges. Nomura itself is a part of the Komainu joint venture that received an operating license from Dubai’s VARA in August.

UAE leads crypto revolution

Chainalysis recently published a report about crypto adoption trends in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region. As per the report, the UAE leads the MENA region in crypto regulation.

The value of crypto transactions received by the UAE reached nearly $35 billion between July 2022 and June 2023.

Each emirate in the UAE has the authority to decide how to regulate crypto assets. Abu Dhabi and Dubai, in particular, have been at the forefront of crypto innovation and regulation in their respective jurisdictions.

Each of these two emirates has implemented detailed regulatory frameworks for crypto assets. Consequently, clear and explicit policies have persuaded a substantial number of crypto firms to establish operations in these jurisdictions.


Saman Waris works as a News Editor at AMBCrypto. She has always been fascinated by how the tides of finance and technology shape communities across demographics. Cryptocurrencies are of particular interest to Saman, with much of her writing centered around understanding how ideas like Momentum and Greater Fool theories apply to altcoins, specifically, memecoins. A graduate in history, Saman worked the sports beat before diving into crypto. Prior to joining AMBCrypto 2 years ago, Saman was a News Editor at Sportskeeda. This was preceded by her stint as Editor-in-Chief at EssentiallySports.
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