Hong Kong-founded institutional cryptocurrency asset custodian Hex Trust has been given the green light to offer virtual asset custodial services to institutional clients and investors in Dubai.
The firm, which established an office in the city in June 2022, received a full virtual asset service provider (VASP) license from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) on Nov. 15. The company had originally received a minimal viable product (MVP) operations license in Feb. 2023 and is now clear to offer its services in the jurisdiction.
Hex Trust’s Regional Director of MENA Filippo Buzzi notes that the approval sees the company join a growing but limited list of cryptocurrency exchanges and cryptocurrency service providers to be given the all-clear to operate in Dubai:
“Hex Trust is fully committed to expanding into the Middle East and sees enormous potential for digital asset growth given the progressive regulations, welcoming governments, and thriving crypto ecosystem in the region.”
Hex Trust co-founder and CEO Alessio Quaglini adds that the Emirate of Dubai presents a prime opportunity for businesses in the sector to grow and capitalize on the progressive regulatory approach of the region.
France also granted the company regulatory approval to offer its services to companies in the country in Aug. 2023. Hex Trust has offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, Dubai, Italy and France.
MetaMask Institutional recently announced that Hex Trust was among four major cryptocurrency custodians integrated into its wallet and browser extension to provide custodial services to institutional clients.
Hex Trust’s announcement of its VASP license comes one day after crypto exchange Crypto.com’s Dubai entity was granted its VASP license by the city’s regulator, which is still pending operational approval.
Other prominent crypto exchanges that previously gained MVP or VASP licenses include Binance, Bybit, Laser Digital Middle East, BitOasis (suspended), OKX, Crypto.com, FTX (revoked) and Huobi.
Komainu, a joint venture between Nomura and crypto firms CoinShares and Ledger, is one the latest crypto firms to receive a full VASP license as recently as Aug. 2023. The company offers custodial and staking services to institutional grade clients.
The United Arab Emirates continues to attract cryptocurrency ecosystem participants, given its role out of federal grants and crypto-friendly regulations. Attaining a VARA license in Dubai is a three-step process requiring crypto exchanges to qualify for provisional approval, a minimal viable product (MVP) license and a full market product license.