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Nine Blocks becomes first crypto hedge fund approved by Dubai’s VARA

The “market neutral trading firm” named Dubai for its global headquarters as the region experiences an influx of crypto companies seeking new users.

Nine Blocks Capital Management FZE bagged a crypto license from Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), making Nine Blocks the first digital asset hedge fund to win VARA’s nod according to a Nov. 27 announcement.

The license will allow Nine Blocks to offer virtual asset services to crypto users in Dubai, including digital asset management and investment products. Additionally, the firm plans to open a global head office in what is largely regarded as the primary international hub for the United Arab Emirates. 

This license is the culmination of a process that started with an MOU between Nine Blocks and VARA, allowing knowledge sharing and consultation.

Nine Blocks press statement

Nine Blocks is a self-professed “neutral trading shop” established in 2021 with a profit generation model that relies on relative value, arbitrage and quantitative strategies applicable to crypto markets.

The firm announced its foothold in Dubai during a time of regulatory unclarity in the U.S. and a shift in crypto’s focus to more friendly jurisdictions. Dubai declared its plans to become a global crypto hub in 2022 and followed up talks with VARA’s rulebook for digital asset operators.

Several firms such as Binance,, Hex Trust and OKX have emerged as beneficiaries of Dubai’s crypto licensing regime, gaining approval to set up shop in the region and service customers.

Amid a VARA leadership change and strict enforcement of compliance, Dubai has also garnered tokenization interest with companies like Deutsche-backed Taurus eying intersections between real estate markets and blockchain technology.

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