Nomura’s crypto arm Laser Digital bags Dubai VARA license

The crypto arm of Nomura has obtained an operating license from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) amid the Japanese financial holding firm’s attempts to leave its mark in the digital asset space.

Laser Digital Middle East FZE, Nomura’s Dubai-based digital asset subsidiary, announced on Aug. 1 that the new virtual asset service provider (VASP) license would allow it to offer broker-dealer and virtual asset management and investment services in the emirate.

Additionally, the permit allows the firm to conduct trading and asset management operations in the coming months, including over-the-counter services and a “range of digital asset investment products and solutions,” the announcement said.

“VARA’s thorough and consultative process provides institutional investors with the assurance they require to engage in this asset class,” said Jez Mohideen, CEO of Laser Digital. “With the license now in place, we are looking forward to Laser’s growth over the coming years.”

Laser Digital and VARA haven’t responded to Cointelegraph’s request for further comments as of publication time.

Founded in September 2022 by Nomura, Laser Digital was the brainchild of Steven Ashley, the former head of Nomura’s wholesale division, along with Mohideen, who served as the holding’s former chief digital officer and co-head of global markets for Europe, Middle East and Africa. It’s headquartered in Switzerland and has offices in Dubai and London.

Related: Bybit’s MVP license in Dubai ‘very restricted,’ CEO says

Dubai’s growing crypto ecosystem has attracted global attention, having established its own virtual assets rules and regulatory body in March 2022. In February, the emirate’s virtual asset regulator issued its “Full Market Product Regulations,” which include four compulsory rulebooks and activity-specific rulebooks that lay down the rules for VASPS.

Laser Digital’s new license comes on the heels of Binance reaching another milestone in cementing its foothold in the United Arab Emirates. On July 31, Binance’s Dubai subsidiary, Binance FZE, obtained an operational minimum viable product (MVP) from VARA to operate cryptocurrency exchange and virtual asset broker-dealer services locally.

Aside from Binance, digital asset custodians Komainu MEA and Hex Trust MENA FZE are the only holders of operational MVP permits. Crypto exchange BitOasis, which also secured the same conditional license, had its permit suspended by VARA for not meeting mandated conditions.

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