Crypto Custodian Komainu Follows Exchanges to Dubai

  • Komainu seeks to launch institutional-focused yield product and other services in Dubai
  • The company is aiming for at least 10 employees in the emirate by the end of the year

Crypto custodian Komainu has gained provisional regulatory approval to operate in Dubai, becoming the latest blockchain firm to begin setting up shop in the region.

Founded in 2020, Komainu was created by Japanese investment bank Nomura, European digital asset manager CoinShares and French hardware wallet maker Ledger. 

Komainu, which is headquartered in the Channel Islands, now seeks to employ at least 10 staff in its new Dubai outpost by the end of the year.

“Komainu is looking to provide custody and yield services to local exchanges and fund managers as well as help new market participants enter the digital asset industry in the region,” Sebastian Widmann, Komainu’s head of strategy, told Blockworks in an email.  

The initial approval came from Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), which was established in March. The company will work with the regulator to apply for a full license, Widmann said, but did not comment on a timeline for that approval. 

Dubai and VARA are creating a regulatory framework to inspire a local hub for digital asset businesses, according to the executive.

“Komainu actively works with regulators, partners and our clients to make sure that our platform is held to the highest of standards, and this latest endorsement by the Dubai Government is a further testament to that fact,” Widmann said in a statement. “By expanding into the [Middle East and North Africa] region, we are bringing a much-needed service to institutions operating within a regulated crypto marketplace.”

The company will seek to launch Komainu Yield — allowing institutions to earn yield on assets custodied with the company — and other new services in the emirate, the executive told Blockworks.

Komainu’s move to the emirate is not unique, as Dubai granted virtual asset licenses to FTX and Binance in March. Crypto.com and Hong Kong-based crypto custodian Hex Trust gained regulatory approval to conduct business in the region in June. More recently, OKX revealed plans earlier this month to build its presence in Dubai.


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  • Ben Strack

    Ben Strack is a Denver-based reporter covering macro and crypto-native funds, financial advisors, structured products, and the integration of digital assets and decentralized finance (DeFi) into traditional finance. Prior to joining Blockworks, he covered the asset management industry for Fund Intelligence and was a reporter and editor for various local newspapers on Long Island. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in journalism. Contact Ben via email at [email protected]

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