Nomura’s crypto arm Laser Digital obtains Dubai VARA license

Nomura's crypto arm Laser Digital obtains Dubai VARA license

The Blockchain Industry: Nomura’s Crypto Arm Obtains Operating License from VARA

In the fast-evolving world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, Nomura’s crypto arm has made a significant breakthrough by obtaining an operating license from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA). This move underscores Nomura’s commitment to venture into the digital asset space and seize opportunities in the growing blockchain industry.

Nomura’s Dubai-based digital asset subsidiary, Laser Digital Middle East FZE, announced on August 1st that its newly acquired virtual asset service provider (VASP) license enables the company to offer broker-dealer and virtual asset management and investment services in the emirate. Moreover, the license grants Laser Digital the ability to conduct trading and asset management operations, including over-the-counter services and a wide range of digital asset investment products and solutions, in the coming months.

Jez Mohideen, Laser Digital’s CEO, stated, “VARA’s thorough and consultative process provides institutional investors with the assurance they require to engage in this asset class. With the license now in place, we are looking forward to Laser’s growth over the coming years.” This development highlights the significance of regulatory compliance in the blockchain industry, ensuring that institutional investors are afforded a secure environment to engage with digital assets.

Founded in September 2022 by Nomura, Laser Digital has emerged as a result of industry experts Steven Ashley, the former head of Nomura’s wholesale division, and Jez Mohideen, who served as the company’s former chief digital officer and co-head of global markets for Europe, Middle East, and Africa. With its headquarters in Switzerland and offices in Dubai and London, the company has positioned itself to thrive in the blockchain industry.

Dubai’s proactive approach to embracing cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology has received global attention. The emirate established its own virtual assets rules and regulatory body, VARA, in March 2022. In February, VARA issued the “Full Market Product Regulations,” which encompass four compulsory rulebooks and activity-specific rulebooks that outline the rules for virtual asset service providers (VASPs). This regulatory framework ensures that participants in the blockchain industry operate within a trusted and compliant ecosystem.

Laser Digital’s acquisition of the operating license comes as Binance, another major player in the blockchain industry, solidifies its position in the United Arab Emirates. Binance’s Dubai subsidiary, Binance FZE, recently obtained an operational minimum viable product (MVP) from VARA to provide local cryptocurrency exchange and virtual asset broker-dealer services. This demonstrates the growing interest and participation of established blockchain entities in Dubai’s thriving crypto ecosystem.

It is worth noting that Laser Digital’s license is significant in the context of the blockchain industry landscape in Dubai. Currently, the only other holders of operational MVP permits in the region are digital asset custodians Komainu MEA and Hex Trust MENA FZE. Another crypto exchange, BitOasis, which had also secured a conditional license, faced its permit’s suspension by VARA for failing to meet mandated conditions. This demonstrates the importance of regulatory compliance in maintaining a foothold in the blockchain industry.

In conclusion, Nomura’s crypto arm, Laser Digital, obtaining an operating license from VARA showcases the company’s commitment to embracing the blockchain industry and digital asset space. With the license in hand, Laser Digital can navigate the rapidly evolving landscape, offering a range of broker-dealer and virtual asset management services. Dubai’s regulatory framework emphasizes the importance of compliance and provides a secure environment for institutional investors and participants to thrive. As the blockchain industry continues to grow, established players like Nomura and Binance are solidifying their presence in Dubai’s burgeoning crypto ecosystem.

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