Abu Dhabi grants Rain permit for virtual assets brokerage, custody services

The crypto landscape in the emirate has changed dramatically since Rain initially met with regulators in 2018

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Abu Dhabi’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority granted Rain a Financial Services Permission on Tuesday.

The Bahrain-based crypto company is the first to receive a license to operate as a “regulated brokerage and storage services,” for some retail investors as well as institutions, according to a tweet from the company.

Rain added via Twitter thread, “This permit allows us to usher in a new era for the adoption of virtual assets in the region, as the company will be able, through this permit, to provide services for the purchase, sale and storage of virtual assets to customers, including institutions and a number of individual customers in the United Arab Emirates.”

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CEO Joseph Dellago added some clarity to what this license means for Rain customers. Dellago said “residents will now be able to fund their accounts in minutes” and alluded to a ”partnership with a local UAE bank.”

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Rain did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Yehia Badawy, Rain’s cofounder, said that Rain initially met with regulators in 2018.

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Abu Dhabi Global Market rolled out a crypto framework back in 2018. At the time, the ADGM said the regulatory framework showed its “ongoing commitment to bolster the economic diversification of Abu Dhabi through innovation and sustainable initiatives.”

In 2021, ADGM’s Shorafa Al Hammadi told Blookworks, “The whole ecosystem in Abu Dhabi […] is working together to make it easy for all the actors of that space, to not only attract them but bring them here, to develop the legal framework.”

Kraken initially sought and received a license in Abu Dhabi in 2022, but the exchange shuttered its office there in February of this year.


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