Crypto Hedge Fund Nine Blocks Snags Dubai Digital Assets License

Nine Blocks, which follows a market neutral strategy, also made Dubai its global headquarters.

AccessTimeIconNov 27, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. UTC

Nine Blocks Capital Management is claiming bragging rights for being the first cryptocurrency hedge fund to be granted a license under Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA). The hedge fund also said Monday it’s making Dubai its global headquarters.

Seemingly a million miles from the murk and uncertainty of U.S. regulation, a flourishing community of crypto businesses has taken root in Dubai, thanks to a comprehensive rulebook that addresses everything from issuance and exchange services to advertising.

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  • “I think what's interesting is that VARA has really created an ecosystem for crypto in Dubai,” Nine Blocks co-founder Henri Arslanian said in an interview. “Many of our hedge fund’s counterparties are one minute walk away from my office. Everybody is in this one square kilometer, which makes it easy to meet up, have conversations and generally enables a good exchange of information.”

    Nine Blocks follows a market neutral trading strategy, profiting from arbitrage opportunities and market inefficiencies across the crypto space.

    “Being market neutral, we don’t take any directional risk, so whether bitcoin is going up or going to go down doesn't matter much to us,” Arslanian said. “We generate alpha from the inefficiencies in crypto markets. So, we will arbitrage between perpetual swaps and the spot price of bitcoin and ETH, for example.”

    Edited by Sheldon Reback.

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    Ian Allison

    Ian Allison is an award-winning senior reporter at CoinDesk. He holds ETH.