M2 Crypto Exchange Launches in the UAE

Based in Abu Dhabi, M2 is regulated by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, as a trading platform and custodian. It is a part of wave of digital assets companies setting up in the region.

AccessTimeIconNov 28, 2023 at 3:35 a.m. UTC
Updated Nov 29, 2023 at 11:23 a.m. UTC

A much-awaited new platform offering trading and custodial services launches today in the financial free zone of Abu Dhabi, marking a major step forward for the Middle East’s crypto infrastructure, the company says.

M2, regulated as a Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF) and Custodian by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), will provide retail and institutional UAE clients the ability to buy, sell and custody virtual assets on its platform.

As of launch, UAE clients are able to register with the platform, wth access to full onboarding services from M2 available within two weeks, according to the company, including custody and trading of virtual assets, with a direct AED fiat on/off ramp.

M2 offers an Earn product, with yields of up to 10.5% on Bitcoin and Ethereum. The M2 platform is designed to foster high levels of trust, security, and integrity in the emerging virtual asset class, the company says.

M2 is co-founded by Phoenix Group’s Bijan Alizadeh Fard, with Stefan Kimmel, previously with Kraken MENA and Commercial Bank of Dubai, as CEO. The leadership team includes professionals with backgrounds at JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, IBM, PWC, IBM and Goldman Sachs.

“We aim to provide a reliable platform for buying, selling, and custody of virtual assets, emphasizing regulatory compliance,” Kimmel said.

“ADGM's regulations will support M2's vision within our ecosystem of virtual asset trading venues and service providers,” Arvind Ramamurthy, Chief of Market Development at Abu Dhabi Global Market (or ADGM, the Emirate’s financial center) said in a news release.

M2 joins other entities such as Binance, Rain, BitOasis, and Securrency in gaining Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FRSA) licences. Earlier this year, Kraken pulled out of the UAE, closing its Abu Dhabi office.

The UAE government, along with neighbours such as Saudi Arabia, claims to be actively shaping the future of blockchain and virtual assets, aiming to attract global attention and investments.

M2 is also pursuing operating licenses globally, including in the E.U. and U.K., becoming one of the first crypto companies to use MENA as a base for international expansion.

UPDATE 11/29; 11:18 UTC: Due to incorrect information from M2, this story has been corrected to show that M2 does not currently have a partnership with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. "We regret to inform that the statement regarding our association with ADCB was prematurely released and is factually incorrect," M2 said in a statement.

Edited by Ben Schiller.


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Lorna Blount

Lorna Blount is a former BBC World News Journalist. She advises Web3 projects and VC funds on strategic communications and investor relations, primarily in the GCC region. She holds a mix of cryptocurrencies including BTC, ETH and SOL.