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After Diginex’s launch on Nasdaq here comes the UAE

Diginex, a digital asset financial services and advisory company which aims to foster the mainstream adoption of digital asset class has been making waves not only globally, but also in the MENA region and GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council).

In just three years since its inception, Diginex is now listed on NASDAQ under the ticker EQOS. It is the first company on NASDAQ with a cryptocurrency exchange because of its combination transaction with 8i enterprises. Diginex raised 50 million USD before its listing on NASDAQ. After the listing, Richard Byworth, CEO of Diginex, commented, “This is a watershed moment for both Diginex and the cryptocurrency industry with the listing of the first-ever company with a crypto exchange on NASDAQ. This also presents the first opportunity for anyone trading in the US capital markets to buy directly into the equity of a digital asset ecosystem and opens the door for financial institutions to participate in the enormous opportunity that digital assets present.”

Diginex has built its self as a power house for digital assets market. Diginex and its entities cover the entire end to end spectrum of digital assets. First is the EQUOS.io platform, which has an  exemption to operate under Singapore’s Payment Services Act, with full license application submitted in May 2020 and pending approval  by MAS ( Monetary Authority of Singapore). This is a fully functioning digital asset exchange for institutional clients and professional retail clients, as well as Diginex’s OTC trading desk, Diginex Access, and secondly is Digivault the hot and cold custodian. While, Thirdly is Diginex Capital a securitization advisory firm based in the United Kingdom, under FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) regulations. Diginex Capital provides advisory, origination and distribution services to advance digital securities or STOs.

MENA Region

So how does this all play together, UNLOCK interviewed Matt Blom, Senior Executive & Global Head of Sales Trading, based in the UAE ( United Arab Emirates). He states, “Diginex was built to fill in what was missing in terms of bank grade custody of assets. We have a capital markets entity and a custody service out of UK, and today we are on NASDAQ.”

Matt Blom is based in Dubai UAE, because Diginex views the UAE and the region as an interesting area for digital securities especially those derived from property assets. As he explains, “I am optimistic that we have reached a moment in time that will help push digital assets and this is especially strong in the GCC region when it comes to property assets.”

He explains, “We at Diginex have a strong belief that digital asset classes will become a whole new asset class in the form of security tokens that represent bonds. Here we can add different characteristics into the digital asset, making it a commodity, or equity that pays dividends with a standard rate of return underwritten by certain assets.” He adds, “ this is not only interesting from a finance perspective but once you place these assets on a secondary market you open the doors for more investors with access to the products seven days a week 24 hours a day.”  

This is why Diginex is interested in the MENA and GCC region and is working on a capital markets license. Blom explains, “We have been in the region for two years and understand the landscape very well, and we have seen an uptake in the interest in tokenization this past year. As such we are working on a capital markets license from DIFC (Dubai International Financial Center) as a first step, as we believe STOs will be a dominant force in years to come.”

In the future Blom is also interested in gaining a license from ADGM as they open more lines of their business in the region.

He believes 2020 has been the year of awareness as institutional investors including names such as JP Morgan move into the crypto and digital asset space. He states, “There is a change in the mindset with continued adoption, and as we get to the point where DeFi is widely understood institutions will fully participate in the industry.”

An educator at heart

Blom views Diginex as an educator today. He says, “ We offer an end to end approach and we work with interested counterparties and explain how they can derive economics from digital assets, the regulations, distribution, and placement into secondary markets while all the time being ultra-compliant in servicing the market. As such today we are knowledge transferee with regards to asset tokenization.”

Central Bank Digital Currencies

As for CBDCs which are also considered a form of digital assets, Blom agrees that while there has been a lot of press around Central Bank Digital Currencies, the real question is whether or not they will be used for wholesale among banks or retail. As he states, “If we saw a sovereign entity issuing a digital currency pegged to the dollar this could be an overnight huge success just as the Tether stablecoin.”

The currency he believes could dominate pretty quickly and if that should happen before USA launches then it would be extremely interesting.

In Conclusion as blockchain is adopted throughout the financial services sector, it is his hope that all assets will be used for lending, transfer of ownership with all the efficiencies that it will create in a transparent stable economy.

Lara Abdul Malak

Lara has been a journalist and writer in the technology field since her graduation from AUB majoring in political science. She has had career in corporation communications in the telecom sector and was part of the launch of first 3G network in the GCC and MENA region. Since her return to journalism she has been focused with passion on blockchain, tokenization, crypto focusing on the GCC and MENA region.

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