Laser Digital, Nomura's Digital Assets Arm, Receives Approval for Operations in Abu Dhabi
Laser Digital, the digital assets division of Japan's Nomura Bank, has received in-principal approval from the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) to offer broker-dealer services and asset/fund management services encompassing both digital and traditional assets. This significant development was confirmed in an ADGM communication issued on September 26.
Laser Digital is now positioned to acquire full Financial Services Permission to commence operations once it meets the conditions specified in the current approval. Although the specific conditions were not detailed in the communication, Laser Digital's CEO, Jez Mohideen, expressed enthusiasm for the ADGM's regulatory framework, which is establishing a global hub for digital assets.
Mohideen stated in the communication, "Their comprehensive and clear regulatory framework is creating a global hub for digital assets that we are delighted to be joining."
The Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) serves as an international financial free zone within Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). ADGM encompasses nearly 15 square kilometers across two islands and comprises a registration authority, regulatory authority, and a court that operates under common law principles.
Notably, Binance received in-principal approval to operate within the ADGM in April 2022 and subsequently obtained Financial Services Permission in November of the same year. Kraken also received permission to operate within the ADGM in 2022. In the current year, ADGM has licensed two smaller virtual asset firms, namely UAE-based M2 and Bahrain-based Rain.
Additionally, another emirate, Ras Al Khaimah, established a digital and virtual asset free zone named RAK Digital Assets Oasis (RAK DAO) earlier this year to attract companies operating in the digital asset sector.
The preliminary approval granted in Abu Dhabi follows Laser Digital's acquisition of an operating license from Dubai's Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) just over a month ago. In addition, the company launched a Bitcoin Adoption Fund in August of this year. Laser Digital itself was established in September 2022.
Nomura is also a participant in the Komainu joint venture, alongside cryptocurrency exchanges CoinShares and Ledger. Komainu received an operating license from Dubai's VARA in August, becoming one of several crypto exchanges to establish a presence in the region.
The approval received by Laser Digital underscores the growing interest and involvement of established financial institutions and digital asset companies in the rapidly evolving landscape of the UAE's cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem. It signals a potential expansion of digital asset services and offerings in the region.