PwC crypto head sets up digital asset fund in Dubai


PwC’s world crypto chief has left his position on the firm to set up a digital belongings fund in Dubai, highlighting how town is attracting cryptocurrency enterprise whereas different perceived hubs together with Singapore and Seoul are rising scrutiny of the sector.

Henri Arslanian advised the Financial Times that Dubai’s “crypto openness” influenced his resolution to determine his digital belongings fund Nine Blocks Capital Management in the Gulf metropolis, the place it has been granted provisional regulatory approval.

The digital belongings fund, which can obtain $75mn from its chief backer and fundamental shareholder Nine Masts Capital, a Hong Kong-based hedge fund, has additionally positioned three portfolio managers in the Cayman Islands.

The fund’s presence in Dubai comes as town presses ahead with establishing itself as a crypto hub after Asian monetary centres comparable to Singapore and Hong Kong have appeared to show chilly on the sector in the wake of a steep market rout and wave of company collapses.

“Hong Kong would have been a natural home for us”, stated Arslanian, including that Nine Blocks had additionally thought of Singapore.

“However, when we looked at the broader ecosystem . . . Cayman and Dubai made a natural choice,” he stated, citing elements that included regulatory approval instances and the flexibility to journey simply. Hong Kong nonetheless has a compulsory resort quarantine for many worldwide travellers.


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Arslanian, who will retain a senior adviser place at PwC, stated he had already relocated to Dubai. He added that the fund could later add a base in Asia, however Dubai’s journey hyperlinks and timezone, simply 4 hours behind Singapore, made it simple to cowl the area.

Dubai’s crypto push comes in the wake of rival regional hubs Singapore, Hong Kong and Seoul placing the nascent business below elevated scrutiny.

Sopnendu Mohanty, the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s chief fintech officer, stated in June that the city-state can be “brutal and unrelentingly hard” on dangerous crypto behaviour.

Just days later, Singapore’s watchdog reprimanded Three Arrows Capital, a once-prominent crypto hedge fund that collapsed after a credit score disaster hit the digital asset market.

Dubai has been opening its doorways to a few of crypto’s largest contributors. Last 12 months, alternate Binance introduced a Virtual Asset License from regulators in Dubai, whereas rival alternate FTX introduced final week that it was authorized to function in the jurisdiction.

Arslanian stated town’s “tier-one” regulatory and licensing regime made it engaging to funds comparable to his, which hope to draw institutional buyers.

In the previous two months, Komainu, a crypto group backed by Japanese funding financial institution Nomura, acquired provisional approval from Dubai’s digital belongings regulator, whereas crypto alternate CoinMENA was granted a provisional licence.

“I think it [Dubai] is currently the most appealing destination for many major crypto firms,” stated Carlton Lai, head of blockchain and cryptocurrency analysis at Daiwa Capital Markets, including that town had moved “very quickly” at hand out licences.

“Compare this with the likes of Singapore and Hong Kong, things have not only moved very slowly, but there has been numerous regulatory flip-flops that simply reduces the confidence in its regulatory direction,” he added.

Video: Highlights from the FT crypto and digital belongings summit | FT Live

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