The Dubai-based subsidiary of a major Japanese finance firm announced on Tuesday that it had received permission to conduct cryptocurrency services in the United Arab Emirates’ largest city, further strengthening the Gulf state's crypto sector.
Laser Digital Middle East FZE received operating license approval from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA). It will allow the company to conduct broker-dealer services as well as virtual asset management and investment services, Laser Digital said in a press release.
Laser Digital is a subsidiary of Nomura, a Japan-based financial services group.
Why it matters: The UAE established VARA in 2022 to provide a regulatory framework for cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens and other virtual assets. The Gulf state is seeking to attract cryptocurrency companies as part of its economic diversification plans.
Cryptocurrency is growing in the UAE despite the market crash last year. In July, the Bahraini crypto firm Rain said it had received permission to operate in the Abu Dhabi Global Market.
The growth of cryptocurrency has seen some controversy. VARA suspended the crypto platform BitOasis last month for allegedly unfulfilled licensing requirements. In May, VARA formally reprimanded Open Exchange for similar issues. VARA also announced updated regulations in February following the market crash and fallout from the collapse of Bahamas-based exchange FTX last year.
The increased regulation may be helping the UAE. In an article for the cryptocurrency news site CoinDesk last month, Bret Johanneson wrote that the crypto firms are warming to the UAE thanks to its “clear rules.”
Laser Digital's CEO Jez Mohideen told Bloomberg that the UAE’s regulatory regimen and growing crypto scene attracted the company.
Know more: Not all Gulf states are as interested in crypto. Kuwait banned cryptocurrency last month.