Nomura’s Crypto Subsidiary Laser Digital Completes Licensing Process in Abu Dhabi

UTC by Tolu Ajiboye · 3 min read
Nomura’s Crypto Subsidiary Laser Digital Completes Licensing Process in Abu Dhabi
Photo: Unsplash

Laser Digital is now fully licensed in Abu Dhabi, joining a growing list of crypto service providers launching services in the UAE.

Laser Digital Limited, the digital asset arm of Japanese financial services giant Nomura, has successfully acquired a broker-dealer license in Abu Dhabi. The city’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has granted Laser Digital a Financial Services Permission (FSP) license that allows the crypto firm to handle traditional and digital assets. The license marks the completion of Laser Digital’s licensing process with the ADGM.

Laser Digital Ready to Offer Crypto Services in Abu Dhabi

The CEO of Laser Digital’s UAE entity, Jez Mohideen, expressed the company’s readiness to join the crypto sector in the United Arab Emirates. According to Mohideen:

“We are eager to contribute responsibly to the virtual asset industry in the UAE. We have always been committed to upholding the highest standards of compliance and regulations at ADGM, and we look forward to contributing to ADGM’s ecosystem.”

The ADGM granted Laser Digital an in-principal approval (IPA) last September. According to an official Nomura press release at the time, Laser Digital chose Abu Dhabi because of the progressive and transparent manner through which the ADGM approaches regulation. The release mentioned that the ADGM applies “cross-industry dialogue and collaboration” with players in several industries, including the crypto sector.

Nomura launched Laser Digital in 2022, cofounded by Mohideen, who was Nomura’s Chief Digital Officer and Co-Head of Global Markets EMEA, and Steve Ashley, the former head of Nomura’s wholesale division. Nomura incorporated Laser Digital Holdings AG in Switzerland. Last October, Laser Digital expanded into Japan with a new office in Tokyo. Months earlier, in August, the company received a full operating license from the Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA). The license concluded the company’s licensing process for VARA.

The UAE is Supportive of the Crypto Sector

The UAE is largely considered an attractive and welcoming destination for the cryptocurrency industry. Easy and supportive regulations have simplified the licensing process for interested companies, drawing several others to the region. Last month, blockchain infrastructure solutions company Blockdaemon received a license from the ADGM to begin operations in Abu Dhabi. The company plans to make its Web3 infrastructure solutions available in the UAE to support other service providers in the region.

In April, sports and entertainment-focused blockchain provider Chiliz announced a partnership with the UAE Pro League to improve fan experiences and increase the league’s popularity via blockchain.

Last November, Paxos received approval from the FSRA to offer fiat-backed USD stablecoins in the UAE. Paxos’ line of stablecoins already includes Pax Dollar (USDP), Pax Gold (PAXG), and PayPal USD (PYUSD). In the same month, the ADGM also granted retail and social trading giant eToro a license to operate as a securities, derivatives, and crypto broker in the UAE.

An executive at crypto and blockchain platform Komodo believes that the UAE’s support of the crypto sector makes the country more suitable for the industry than the United States. According to Kadan Stadelmann, Komodo’s Chief Technology Officer, the UAE’s political stability is a driving factor. Stadelmann explained that the country’s monarchy enables political stability because bottlenecks typical of policy changes in a democracy are absent.

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