Nomura crypto arm locks down full license in Dubai

Laser Digital, the crypto unit of Japanese bank Nomura, snagged a full crypto license from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority. 

Dubai issued the license last Thursday, granting Laser Digital the ability to serve both retail and institutional customers.

Now that the company — which is based in Switzerland — is established in the wealthy Middle Eastern city, it plans to launch its trading and digital asset management businesses in the coming months, according to a press release. 

The company will offer institutional investors “[over-the-counter] trading services and a comprehensive range of digital asset investment products and solutions.”

Nomura is one of Japan’s largest banks and set up Laser Digital last September as its crypto offshoot. 

In less than a year after its founding, Laser Digital has leapfrogged the world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance, in the race to be fully approved in Dubai. Binance was approved for a operational minimum viable product (MVP) license on Monday, which restricts it from offering its services to all retail investors.

Other more recent registrants in Dubai include crypto exchanges Bybit and OKX. Koinmanu also received full approval in May 2023 to offer custody and financing services to qualified institutional and retail clients, after gaining provisional approval last July.

Dubai’s interest in digital assets is nothing new. At the start of 2023, Dubai announced that it had attracted more than 500 crypto companies — in part because of the generous tax breaks it offers through its Dubai Multi Commodities Center, a dedicated hub for local crypto entrepreneurs.

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