Dubai grants provisional virtual asset licence to Singapore's Fintonia Group

The financial services company will use the permit to expand in the UAE and serve clients in more markets

Dubai adopted the first law in the emirate that regulates virtual assets in March. Reuters
Powered by automated translation

Financial services company Fintonia Group has secured a provisional virtual asset licence to operate in Dubai.

The company, which is based in Singapore, obtained the provisional licence from the Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (Vara).

The licence will allow Fintonia to participate in Dubai’s “fast-growing digital assets ecosystem by operating crypto native services under full regulatory supervision” and offer financial solutions to clients in new geographies, the company said on Tuesday.

“Dubai is making significant strides towards establishing itself as a virtual assets hub and creating a conducive environment for the industry’s growth,” said Fintonia Group founder Adrian Chng.

“The virtual asset licence marks an important milestone in our aspiration to have a presence in every region where there are innovative Web3 and crypto companies, enabling us to connect and collaborate with members of the crypto native ecosystem and the traditional financial services industry.”

Vara serves as the single custodial entity mandated to licence and govern the cryptocurrency sector in Dubai, including all mainland and free zones but excluding the autonomous financial free zone at the Dubai International Financial Centre.

In March, Dubai adopted the first law in the emirate that regulates virtual assets. In the same month, the Dubai Financial Services Authority, the regulator of the emirate’s financial centre, published its regulatory framework overseeing crypto tokens, or cryptocurrencies, for public consultation.

The Middle East is one of the fastest-growing cryptocurrency markets in the world. It received $271.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency between July 2020 and June 2021, which represents 6.6 per cent of global activity, Chainalysis data show.

What is Bitcoin and how did it start?

What is Bitcoin and how did it start?

“We are committed to enabling virtual asset service providers across the value chain,” said Helal Almarri, director general of Dubai World Trade Centre Authority, which houses Vara.

“We look forward to engaging with Fintonia to build thought leadership for the virtual assets industry and their active contribution to facilitating Vara’s regime drive the next phase of maturity for the sector.”

Fintonia plans to expand its team in Dubai and provide tailored Treasury and balance sheet management services to token foundations, protocols, Bitcoin miners and other large holders of digital assets, the company said.

Updated: July 19, 2022, 10:59 AM