Komainu becomes latest crypto firm to gain full license in Dubai

The crypto custodian is set to offer institutional staking and collateral management in the region via its Komainu Connect platform


Naufal MQ/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


Komainu has received approval from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) to provide its custody services to clients in Dubai, the company told Blockworks Tuesday.

The crypto custodian is among the first to receive a full Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) in a region that various companies in the segment have sought to set up outposts. Crypto firms’ interest in Dubai accelerated after the emirate established VARA in March 2022.  

“VARA has created a robust regulatory framework allowing firms like ourselves to innovate, whilst operating safely and exploring the future potential of digital assets, which includes tokenization and DeFi services,” Komainu’s strategy lead Sebastian Widmann told Blockworks in an email. 

Read more: Dubai free zone now home to more than 500 crypto startups

VARA has a four-stage licensing process: a provisional permit, preparatory and operating minimal viable product (MVP) licenses and a so-called full market product (FMP) license. 

Reaching this final step in VARA’s licensing process allows the company to provide institutional staking and collateral management in the region via its Komainu Connect platform, the company noted. It can also offer custody and custodial staking.

Komainu — started in 2018 as a joint venture between Japan-based financial giant Nomura, blockchain company Ledger and crypto investment firm CoinShares — services institutional clients, such as asset managers, banks, liquidity providers and exchanges.

It had gained preliminary approval to operate in Dubai in July 2022. Komainu then received its MVP license from the Dubai regulator in November.

“We see tremendous growth potential in the [Gulf Cooperation Council countries] and expect to increase our headcount in the region to meet growing client demand,” Widmann said. 

A spokesperson noted that Komainu currently has five employees in Dubai under Widmann’s leadership and plans to double that number by the end of the year.

The company’s license comes a few weeks after Laser Digital, the crypto unit of Nomura, obtained a full license from VARA. Crypto exchange Binance received an operational MVP license last month — bringing the company one step away from offering a broader range of authorized services in the region.

Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.


Upcoming Events

MON - WED, MARCH 18 - 20, 2024

Digital Asset Summit (DAS) is returning March 2024. What you can expect: And more! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to be in the room when the future of crypto is decided. Join us and help shape the future of our […]

recent research

Research report - cover graphics-2.jpg


Base has doubled-down on its commitment to the Superchain vision, has shown early signs of success with nearly $400M in TVL, and has become home to novel dapps such as friend.tech which has seen significant traction.


Blockchain is a “natural fit” in games based on open economies and user-generated content, says Wyatt


Their current stance is a half-baked attempt that could stifle innovation and burden an emerging industry


Maker’s DeFi-focused “subDAO” passed a proposal activating a lending market for DAI on the Gnosis Chain


Certain creditors could be repaid sooner, with one hedge fund exec telling Blockworks it expects a payout by the end of the year


Busan is South Korea’s second largest city with a population around 3.4 million


Cyprus granted eToro crypto registration, setting the groundwork for the company to operate crypto services post-MiCa rollout