Zodia Markets, a digital asset marketplace with the backing of Standard Chartered Ventures, has achieved a significant milestone by securing approval in principle to operate as an over-the-counter (OTC) crypto broker-dealer in Abu Dhabi. This announcement marks a notable development in the cryptocurrency space within the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The approval in principle was granted by the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), an international finance center located within the UAE that has been actively working to attract and facilitate crypto-related businesses. In the regulatory process, this in-principle approval signifies the third step out of a five-stage application process. The subsequent phases involve obtaining final approval and undergoing an "operational launch" test, as outlined in ADGM's regulatory guidelines.
ADGM has been at the forefront of introducing a specialized licensing regime tailored for virtual asset service providers. Earlier this year, in February, Abu Dhabi launched a significant $2 billion initiative aimed at supporting Web3 projects, further demonstrating the region's commitment to fostering innovation in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sectors. In recent months, the ADGM has also granted licenses to notable players in the crypto industry, including virtual asset platform M2 and crypto exchange Rain.
Salem Mohammed Al Darei, CEO of ADGM Authority, highlighted the synergy between traditional and modern finance in Abu Dhabi and the collaboration with Zodia Markets, a prominent digital asset firm with the strong backing of Standard Chartered. Al Darei emphasized that such partnerships contribute to bolstering ADGM's appeal as a preferred destination for global entities seeking to engage in the evolving digital asset landscape.
Zodia Markets strategically selected Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, as a pivotal expansion location. Their aim is to provide institutional investors in the Middle East and Africa with seamless access to the world of cryptocurrencies. This move underscores the growing interest in crypto assets from institutional players and reflects the broader trend of traditional financial institutions embracing the crypto space.
As Zodia Markets progresses through the remaining stages of the regulatory process and ultimately launches its crypto broker-dealer services, it will likely play a significant role in facilitating the adoption and integration of digital assets within the financial ecosystem of the UAE and the broader Middle East and Africa regions.