Nomura’s Laser Digital Secures Virtual Assets Services Provider License in Dubai

The digital arm of Nomura, Laser Digital has successfully obtained a license as a virtual asset services provider in Dubai. The firm is set to launch services including over-the-counter crypto trading services and investment products for institutional investors in the coming months

The license granted by the Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA), allows Laser Digital to offer crypto trading and asset management services. The firm will henceforth provide crypto broker-dealer and asset management services from its Dubai office.

Commenting on the granting of the license, CEO of Laser Digital, Jez Mohideen said the license will enhance the firm’s growth over the coming years.

“We are very grateful to VARA for approving our Operating License. VARA’s thorough and consultative process provides institutional investors with the assurance they require to engage in this asset class. With the license now in place, we are looking forward to Laser’s growth over the coming years,” he said.

Laser Digital was founded last year by Steven Ashley, the former head of Nomura’s wholesale division, and Jez Mohideen, Nomura’s former Chief Digital Officer and Co-Head of Global Markets EMEA. Headquartered in Switzerland, the company operates offices in London and Dubai.

The firm also plans to launch its Trading and Asset Management businesses in Dubai with the main goal of bringing a suite of digital asset investment products and solutions to institutional investors.

Dubai opens doors to crypto companies

Dubai in particular and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in general has been friendly towards crypto and blockchain innovation. As a result, it has been issuing licenses to deserving crypto companies recently

Nomura, through Laser Digital, is the latest company to enter the crypto-friendly environment of the United Arab Emirates. Just yesterday, world’s leading crypto exchange Binance announced it had obtained the operational minimum viable product (MVP) license from VARA, bringing it one step away from a full license.

There are many other top crypto exchanges such as Bybit and OKX which have received one form of license or another in Dubai this year. These exchanges have succeeded in spite of Dubai’s tightened regulatory laws around digital assets.

VARA increased demands for granting crypto licenses earlier this year in the wake of collapses, including FTX’s. The regulator is said to have asked for more information from license applicants, including Binance, to ensure safety in the crypto industry and to protect its citizens from crypto frauds.

However in spite of this tightened regulations, Dubai remains one of the most friendly destinations towards cryptocurrencies. No wonder, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao expressed intentions to build a global headquarters in the city years ago.

Dubai provides refuge for crypto

The crypto industry is facing hostility in many countries, particularly the U.S. and in Europe, the pressure is also mounting quickly, making it more difficult for crypto exchanges like Binance to secure operational licenses in countries within the region.

Binance in particular had mentioned that it was considering looking to the Middle East since the pressure is high in these regions. It seems other crypto startups are seeing similar advantages in the UAE and are taking advantage of the situation.

The UAE and Dubai are also using the opportunity to actualize its goal of making the region a global destination for blockchain and crypto innovation.

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