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Standard Chartered’s crypto firm Zodia Markets scores regulatory approval in Abu Dhabi

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Standard Chartered’s Crypto Firm Zodia Markets Scores Regulatory Approval In Abu Dhabi

Standard Chartered’s crypto firm Zodia Markets is betting big on the Middle East for expansion after securing in-principle approval from the Abu Dhabi Global Market.

London-based Zodia Markets has been given the green light to operate as a crypto broker-dealer in the region, the latest digital asset business to look to the emirate as regulators in the US and Europe tighten their nets on the sector.

“We have been on the ground already,” Zodia chief executive Usman Ahmad told Financial News. “We have our chief technology officer sitting in the United Arab Emirates and also other members of our technology team. There is a great talent pool in the UAE. We are planning to make some key hires to strengthen our position in the region, but we need to find the right people.”

The Abu Dhabi Global Market is the international financial centre of the UAE’s capital. It is already home to several digital asset service providers, including crypto bank SEBA, trading and custodial platform Matrix, and over-the-counter crypto trading firm Hayvn.

One the most recent entrants is crypto exchange Rain, which received its permissions from the ADGM Financial Services Regulatory Authority to operate as a crypto broker and custody services provider on 25 July.

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“We congratulate Zodia Markets on receiving the in-principle approval from ADGM and welcome them to our vibrant ecosystem,” said Salem Mohammed Al Darei, CEO of the ADGM Authority.

“When we started exploring locations for global expansion, we were looking at Africa and the Middle East. Since Standard Chartered was one of the early movers to the Middle East, it was natural for us to consider that region for expansion,” Ahmad said. “Considering the maturity and established nature of Abu Dhabi’s regulatory framework, it made a lot of sense for us to focus on the region early.”

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Ahmad added that Zodia Markets is planning to place a senior executive in Abu Dhabi to head the operations.

“That will be a super important role for us. We need to make sure that person has the right capabilities to lead the team in Abu Dhabi,” Ahmad said. “Few members of Zodia Markets’ senior team are interested in moving to Abu Dhabi.”

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Bilal Jafar

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