Komainu, a digital asset custodian for institutions, received provisional approval to operate in Dubai, the company said Wednesday.
The license from the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) allows Komainu to offer crypto products and services to institutional clients in Dubai.
Dubai is emerging as a key player in the crypto world. It established VARA as in March, and has already issued licenses to crypto exchanges FTX Europe, Binance and Bybit. Its emergence as a cryptocurrency center has been accelerated by tougher regulations in prominent crypto hubs like Singapore, where the city-state’s central bank and financial regulators are cracking down on some crypto activity.
Komainu, a joint venture between Japanese investment bank Nomura, digital asset manager CoinShares and digital asset security company Ledger founded in 2018, has already established a firm foothold in the Asia-Pacific region and is eyeing an expansion into the Middle East, according to Sebastian Widmann, Komainu’s head of strategy.
“Dubai and VARA are establishing a new hub for digital asset businesses and bringing like-minded companies into the country to help establish its growing crypto ecosystem, and we look forward to contributing to these exciting developments,” Widmann said in the statement.
Komainu declined to comment on when the company expected to receive final approval from VARA.
Dubai’s reputation as a tax-free commerce hub has also served as something of a siren call for companies, though that allure could fade as the emirate gears up to introduce a 9% income tax on businesses’ taxable income exceeding AED 375,000 ($102,000) in 2023.
Last week, Dubai launched a metaverse initiative that aims to attract more than 1,000 blockchain and metaverse companies to the city and support the creation of more than 40,000 virtual jobs by 2030.
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