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A former crypto executive at leading accounting and audit firm PwC has launched a crypto hedge fund in Dubai for institutional investors.
Former global crypto head at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has set up a $75m crypto hedge fund for institutional investors. According to a report by the Financial Times, Henri Arslanian left his role at PwC to set up the digital assets fund in Dubai. Called Nine Blocks Capital Management, the new fund has already secured provisional regulatory approval in the emirate city. Commenting on the crypto hedge fund, Arslanian said:
“We believe that the preferred channel for institutional allocators to start getting exposure to the digital assets space will be via external managers from who they can gradually learn and get comfortable with the asset class.”
The $75 million capital Nine Blocks Capital Management received came from its main sponsor, Hong Kong-based hedge fund Nine Masts Capital. Although reports further state that additional investments also came from other partners, the amount invested remains undisclosed.
In addition to being co-founder of Nine Blocks Capital Management, Arslanian will also function as a managing partner. This will require the former PwC crypto head to lead the non-investment side of the crypto fund, which includes raising capital.
Another notable name to join the new crypto fund scheme is Andrew Goodwin, previous portfolio manager at Nine Masts. Goodwin also has the title designation of co-founder and managing partner, but with a focus on business investments. Furthermore, the new fund will also absorb the existing crypto trading team from Nine Masts and will launch with around 10 people.
Ex-PwC Crypto Head Harbors Lofty Aspirations for New Digital Assets Fund
Henri Arslanian established Nine Blocks Capital Management in Dubai, intending to become a globally-renowned leading crypto management company. A statement by his newly-established crypto fund said it would focus on “generating alpha from inefficiencies in the crypto markets”.
The former PwC global crypto head reportedly chose Dubai as the host city to establish his crypto fund for several reasons. These include ease of travel and the Gulf city’s enabling regulatory environment for crypto firms. Additionally, according to Arslanian, Hong Kong was also considered in addition to Singapore. However, the city of Hong Kong still requires that international travelers go into mandatory hotel quarantine. As Arslanian explained it:
“Hong Kong would have been a natural home for us. However, when we looked at the broader ecosystem . . . Cayman and Dubai made a natural choice.”
Despite striking out on his own, Arslanian will also reportedly stay on at PwC as a senior adviser.
The Appeal of Digital Assets
Dubai, in a bid to become a global hub for digital assets, has attracted several notable industry names in recent times. For instance, several prominent crypto companies such as Binance, FTX, and OKX have all received licenses in the Arab city. In addition, US-based crypto exchange and bank Kraken has also secured a license in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
Arslanian is not worried about the currency crypto market crash. According to him, the downturn has no bearing on the success trajectory of Nine Blocks Capital Management.
“We believe that the current market conditions are an ideal time to build a new institutional grade digital assets business,” said Arslanian.