Rain Trading Limited has been granted financial services permission (FSP) by Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) to offer regulated virtual assets brokerage and custody services to residents. The project will pave the way to provide more services and products to clients in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the region.
In July 2023, Rain announced that the regulatory approval would enable a number of UAE-based institutional and retail users to buy, sell, trade and store virtual assets as well as have seamless fiat-to-virtual asset on-ramp service in dirhams through the platform. The FSP allows Rain to list a more significant number of virtual asset pairs, having met the approved virtual assets criteria set out by the ADGM’s financial service regulatory authority (FSRA). The FSP will cement Rain’s position as one of the region’s leading regulated virtual assets trading platforms.
Overview of the Project
Rain CEO Joseph Dallago emphasised that the trading firm has partnered with a local bank to facilitate services under the supervision of a local regulator and a thorough legal framework to protect users. CEO Dallago said, “We are incredibly proud to have received an FSP from the FSRA, which is a testament to our unwavering commitment to compliance and regulatory excellence. This achievement represents a significant milestone for Rain and the entire virtual assets industry…. With this licence, we can now offer our customers an even greater level of security and trust as we continue to drive innovation and growth in the virtual assets space.”
Furthermore, Rain now offers the only regulated on-ramp and off-ramp of AED into virtual assets in the UAE.
The Chief of Marketing Development at ADGM, Arvind Ramamurthy, noted that they welcome Rain to ADGM’s rapidly growing international virtual asset community. This aims to further affirm ADGM’s role as an International Financial Centre and facilitator for business growth.
Ramamurthy added, “This has been made possible through the implementation of a robust and progressive regulatory framework for digital assets. With the inclusion of companies like Rain, we are continuously trying to add value to Abu Dhabi’s digital asset ecosystem while also supporting the diversification of our flourishing economy.”
Crypto timeline in Abu Dhabi
The country has taken several steps to integrate blockchain into the economy, society and government as part of efforts to develop Abu Dhabi’s economy. Some technologies claim that virtual assets are the future of money and it is safer and more practical to conduct transactions as it is powered by blockchain. In the past, the crypto industry struggled with the continued price decline but has since recovered lost ground.
In November 2022, the UAE capital launched the Middle East, Africa and Asia Crypto and Blockchain Association, a non-profit organisation backed by ADGM, to hasten cryptocurrencies and blockchain development in the region. Rain Financial is one of its partners, along with other major crypto platforms, including Dubai-based BitOasis, Crypto.com, Mubadala-backed MidChains and Binance, the biggest cryptocurrency exchange.
Joseph Dallago, Yehia Badawy, Abdullah Almoaiqel and AJ Nelson founded Rain in 2017 and continued to bits its technology and services via an advanced trading platform as well as growing its team. In 2019 Rain became the first licensed virtual assets service provider in the Middle East regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain. Dallago said, “This is a five-year effort, as we were one of the first exchanges to enquire about licensure back in 2018, when ADGM released their virtual asset framework.”
In January 2022, Rain received its first in principle approval for FSP. A week before, Rain Financial raised $110 million in a series B funding round as digital currencies gained more acceptance amongst mainstream investors globally. In November 2022, Binance received similar regulatory permission in Abu Dhabi after it was granted in-principle approval in April. At the time of acceptance, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao was attending Abu Dhabi Finance Week.
During an interview with experts from 7Bitcoins in April 2022, Kraken received a virtual asset exchange licence in Abu Dhabi and has set up an office and executive team in the country and plans to scale post-launch. According to reports, Kraken will launch its crypto exchange in Abu Dhabi in the near future. The exchange was aimed at bringing investors to trade, withdraw and deposit crypto directly in the local currency. However, in February 2023, Kraken shuttered its office in Abu Dhabi.
Rain’s website confirmed that the platform aims primarily to offer crypto services across the Middle East and Turkey. The crypto landscape in Abu Dhabi has changed dramatically over the years, and Rain made sure that such an opportunity of offering virtual assets brokerage custody services continues beyond the firm.