Nomura’s digital asset subsidiary, Laser Digital Middle East FZE, has successfully obtained a Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) operating license in Dubai. This milestone represents Nomura’s strategic push into the digital asset space, further solidifying its presence in the market.

Expanded Operations and Services in the Pipeline

The VASP license enables Laser Digital to offer a wide range of services in the emirate, including broker-dealer and virtual asset management and investment services. Moreover, the firm is set to launch additional operations in the coming months, including over-the-counter services, as well as a diverse selection of digital asset investment products and solutions.

Jez Mohideen, CEO of Laser Digital, expressed satisfaction with the comprehensive and consultative process followed by VARA, which has significantly bolstered confidence among institutional investors in the digital asset class. With the license secured, Laser Digital anticipates remarkable growth in the years ahead.


Nomura’s Brainchild Laser Digital and Dubai’s Advancing Crypto Ecosystem

Nomura established Laser Digital in September 2022, with the brainchild of the project coming from Steven Ashley, the former head of Nomura’s wholesale division, and Jez Mohideen, former chief digital officer and co-head of global markets for Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Currently headquartered in Switzerland, Laser Digital has operational offices in Dubai and London.

Dubai’s crypto ecosystem has garnered global attention since its establishment of virtual asset rules and a regulatory body in March 2022. In February, the emirate’s virtual asset regulator introduced the “Full Market Product Regulations,” comprising four compulsory rulebooks and activity-specific rulebooks that govern VASPS’ operations.

Binance’s Milestone and Competitors

Following Binance’s latest achievements in the UAE market, Laser Digital’s VARA license stands as yet another significant milestone. Binance’s Dubai subsidiary, Binance FZE, recently obtained an operational minimum viable product (MVP) from VARA, enabling cryptocurrency exchange and virtual asset broker-dealer services locally.

Additionally, other digital asset custodians like Komainu MEA and Hex Trust MENA FZE hold operational MVP permits.

However, not all companies have been successful in maintaining their licenses. BitOasis, another crypto exchange that secured a conditional license from VARA, had its permit suspended for failing to meet mandated conditions.

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