Laser Digital Middle East FZE, Nomura's crypto subsidiary based in Dubai, has received operating license approval from the city's Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA).
The full license allows Laser Digital to provide crypto broker-dealer and asset management services from its Dubai entity, the firm said Tuesday. Laser Digital is set to launch over-the-counter crypto trading services and investment products for institutional investors in the coming months, it added.
In June, Laser Digital said it was acquiring the trading solutions firm Elysium Technology Group to provide post-trade services to institutional crypto investors.
"We are very grateful to VARA for approving our Operating Licence. VARA's thorough and consultative process provides institutional investors with the assurance they require to engage in this asset class," Jez Mohideen, CEO of Laser Digital, said in a statement. "With the license now in place, we are looking forward to Laser's growth over the coming years."
Nomura's crypto arm
Nomura launched Laser Digital last September amid crypto collapses. The firm, which is headquartered in Switzerland with offices in Dubai and London, also invests in crypto startups with a dedicated venture capital team. It has invested in over ten such startups to date, including Orderly Network, WebN Group and Infinity Exchange, according to The Block Pro's Deals Dashboard.
Laser Digital's Dubai license comes after the city's regulator reportedly increased scrutiny of crypto license seekers earlier this year in the wake of collapses, including FTX's. The regulator is said to have asked for more information from license applicants, including Binance, to ensure safety in the crypto industry. Yesterday, Binance said it received the operational minimum viable product (MVP) license from VARA — one step away from a full license.
Despite the large-scale crypto collapses of last year, traditional financial institutions like Nomura continue to bet on the sector. Last month, French bank Societe Generale received France's first crypto license. In June, asset management giant BlackRock applied for a bitcoin exchange-traded fund with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
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