Abu Dhabi Expands Crypto Embrace as Nomura's Laser Digital Lands License

Nomura, a leading Japanese investment bank, has scored another win in its cryptocurrency ambitions after its digital asset unit, Laser Digital, secured a license from Abu Dhabi. This regulatory approval from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) permits Laser Digital to provide brokerage services for both traditional and digital assets, solidifying Abu Dhabi's position as a burgeoning hub for crypto businesses.

The license, officially a Financial Services Permission (FSP), comes after Laser Digital received similar approval in August 2023 from Dubai's Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA). This dual licensing strengthens Nomura's foothold in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a region actively courting crypto firms with its progressive regulatory framework.

Jez Mohideen, who will lead Laser Digital's UAE entity, hailed the FSRA license as a significant milestone. "This licensing achievement underscores Laser Digital's commitment to compliance and collaboration with regulators, " Mohideen said in a statement. He further commended the FSRA's "forward-thinking approach, " which he believes creates a fertile ground for innovation in the virtual asset industry.

The licensing news aligns with Abu Dhabi's recent efforts to establish itself as a frontrunner in the global crypto space. The emirate has implemented several initiatives to foster a crypto-friendly environment, including the creation of a dedicated regulatory body, the FSRA, and the launch of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), a free zone attracting crypto businesses with streamlined regulations.

Financial institutions worldwide are cautiously wading into the crypto market, often establishing separate subsidiaries to manage the risks and complexities associated with digital assets. Nomura's Laser Digital exemplifies this trend. By obtaining licenses in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Laser Digital is strategically positioned to benefit from the UAE's regulatory clarity and supportive stance on cryptocurrencies.

Analysts believe that Abu Dhabi's licensing of Laser Digital is likely to set a precedent for other established financial institutions considering entering the crypto market. The move could also ignite further competition between Dubai and Abu Dhabi to attract crypto businesses, ultimately benefiting the UAE's status as a regional crypto hub.

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