Zodia Markets Receives In-Principle Approval as Crypto Broker-Dealer in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi was among the first to establish a bespoke licensing regime for virtual asset service providers.

AccessTimeIconSep 6, 2023 at 11:12 a.m. UTC
Updated Oct 30, 2023 at 2:15 p.m. UTC

Zodia Markets, a digital asset marketplace backed by Standard Chartered Ventures, has been granted approval in principle to operate as an over-the-counter (OTC) crypto broker-dealer in Abu Dhabi, the firm said Wednesday.

The approval was granted by the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), an international finance center within the United Arab Emirates that has been attempting to attract crypto-related businesses. The in-principle level is seen as the third step in a five-stage application process. The next stages involve getting final approval and going through an "operational launch" test, according to the ADGM guidance.

The ADGM was among the first to bring forth a bespoke licensing regime for virtual asset service providers. In February, Abu Dhabi kicked off a $2 billion initiative to support Web3 projects. Among other approvals, last month the center granted a license to virtual asset platform M2. Crypto exchange Rain received a license in July.

"The harmony of traditional and new-age finance in Abu Dhabi with an international leading digital asset firm such as Zodia Markets that is backed by the well-established Standard Chartered will contribute to further enhancing the attractiveness of ADGM as a preferred destination for global entities,” said Salem Mohammed Al Darei, CEO of ADGM Authority.

Zodia Markets chose Abu Dhabi, the UAE's capital, as a strategic expansion to provide institutional investors from the Middle East and Africa access to crypto, according to the announcement.

Edited by Sheldon Reback.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Amitoj Singh

Amitoj Singh is a CoinDesk reporter.