PwC’s Crypto Head Resigns And Sets up a Crypto Fund in Dubai
- Due to regulatory pressures, Dubai has been more accommodating to crypto firms than other regions.
- Arslanian further revealed that his new crypto fund has three portfolio managers in the Cayman Islands.
The head of the crypto unit of the popular accounting firm, PwC, Henri Arslanian, has resigned from his position with the company. He is reportedly setting up a new crypto fund in Dubai. Arslanian stated that the city had been an attractive destination for crypto firms compared to Seoul, Singapore, and other perceived crypto hubs, which haven’t been as accommodating.
Arslanian told the media that the openness of Dubai to crypto businesses greatly influenced his decision to establish his new digital asset fund (Nine Blocks Capital management) there. He added that Nine Blocks Capital has already received a provisional operational license from Dubai regulators. The ex-PwC crypto head said that nine masts capital had funded the new crypto fund with $75 million.
According to him, the Hong-Kong based hedge fund is the chief backer and main shareholder in Nine Blocks Capital. Arslanian further revealed that his new crypto fund has three portfolio managers in the Cayman Islands. Arslanian’s crypto fund is the latest to join a line of crypto firms establishing their strong presence in the Gulf city.
Dubai And Crypto Adoption
Dubai is fast becoming the most attractive crypto hub ahead of Singapore and Hong Kong, previously the more attractive destinations. However, these regions have become less receptive towards crypto firms following the current downturn in the crypto market and recent crashes of top crypto firms, notably three arrows capital and the terra network.
Arslanian explained his preference would have been Singapore, but a careful consideration made him and his team change their mind. “When analyzing the broader ecosystem, it was only natural that we choose Dubai and Cayman.” He said regulatory approval times and ease of travel were some of the factors that influenced their decision.
For instance, it is still compulsory for international travelers to quarantine in a hotel. Even though Arslanian will remain a senior adviser with PwC, he said he is now a Dubai resident. He also said the fund may still have a base in Asia in the future, but it can still cover the region since Dubai is only four hours behind Singapore.
Recently, Singapore, Seoul, and Hong Kong, which would have rivaled Dubai as a crypto hub, are subjecting the fast-growing industry to increased scrutiny. Two months ago, the chief fintech officer of Singapore’s Monetary Authority, Sopnendu Mohanty, said the regulator would be brutally hard on any bad crypto attitude.
A few days after Mohanty’s comments, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) rebuked the now-liquidated crypto hedge fund, three arrows capital (3AC). The popular crypto hedge fund collapsed following a series of insolvency issues. Some of the crypto industry’s biggest players have already established their presence in Dubai.
Top crypto exchanges, Binance, and FTX, already have operating licenses from Dubai regulators. Arslanian explained that Dubai attracts crypto funds because of its tier-one licensing and regulatory policy. Thus, institutional investors can invest in the city through funds like Arslanian’s Nine Blocks Capital management.
Two months ago, Komainu and CoinMENA received a provisional license from the city’s crypto regulator. Komainu is a Nomura-backed crypto group. Nomura is one of the biggest investment banks in Japan. Carlton Lai, who heads Daiwa Capital Markets’ blockchain and crypto research unit, said Dubai’s decision to grant license approvals quickly is one main reason it has become the most appealing destination for many crypto firms.