Nomura’s Laser Digital receives in-principal approval for operations in Abu Dhabi

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The Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has granted Laser Digital, the digital assets arm of Japan’s Nomura Bank, in-principal approval to provide broker-dealer services and asset/fund management services with both digital and traditional assets, according to an ADGM communication on Sept. 26. 

Laser Digital can receive full Financial Services Permission to operate after fulfilling conditions specified in the current approval. Those conditions were not specified in the communication. Laser Digital CEO Jez Mohideen said of the ADGM in the communication:

“Their comprehensive and clear regulatory framework is creating a global hub for digital assets that we are delighted to be joining.”

The ADGM is an international financial free zone within Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The ADGM occupies nearly 15 square kilometers across two islands and consists of a registration authority, regulatory authority and a court that applies common law.

Binance received in-principal approval to operate in the ADGM in April 2022 and received Financial Services Permission in November. Kraken also received permission to operate in the ADGM in 2022. This year, the ADGM licensed two smaller virtual asset firms – UAE-based M2 and Bahrain-based Rain.

Related: Abu Dhabi to back the growth of Web3 startups with $2B

Another emirate, Ras Al Khaimah, created a free zone for digital and virtual asset companies called RAK Digital Assets Oasis (RAK DAO) earlier this year.

The preliminary approval in Abu Dhabi comes just over a month after Laser Digital received an operating license from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA). It also launched a Bitcoin (BTC) Adoption Fund in August. Laser Digital was created in September 2022.

Nomura is also part of the Komainu joint venture, along with cryptocurrency exchanges CoinShares and Ledger. Koimanu received an operating license from Dubai’s VARA in August, joining several other crypto exchanges.

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