Abu Dhabi Sovereign Wealth Fund Invests in Cryptocurrency Exchange

As UAE English language newspaper Gulf News reported on Aug. 11, Mubadala Investment Capital has invested in MidChains, a digital currency trading platform set to launch in late 2019 in Abu Dhabi. The exchange will be located in the international financial center and free zone Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

The world’s thirteenth largest sovereign wealth fund, Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Investment Capital, has made an investment in cryptocurrency exchange MidChains.

According to the company, foreign stakeholders have already expressed interest in using MidChain’s trading platform. Al Askari also said that he sees Bitcoin as a new investment class rather than a replacement for existing fiat currencies.

Commenting on the investment, Basil Al Askari, co-founder of MidChains, told the Gulf News:

“We’re an exchange. You can think of it similar to a stock exchange, but where you’re trading equities, for us, it would be crypto. We also perform custody activities, which means we also can store, settle, and clear crypto transactions on behalf of our clients.”

Earlier this year, ADGM’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority authorized MidChain to operate a cryptocurrency exchange. This purportedly means that once launched, the platform will be fully regulated by the authority.

In June, UAE-based crypto asset exchange and custodian Arabian Bourse (ABX) – a joint venture from GMEX Group and Arshad Khan – received initial regulatory approval from the ADGM. ABX is to be based in the Abu Dhabi Global Market Authorities Building – reportedly in order to benefit from the city’s proactive crypto asset regulatory framework.

BitOasis – another UAE-based crypto exchange – secured preliminary approval with financial regulators in April. To get a license, the exchange has to meet specific technical and operational requirements, which it expects to do in the second half of the year.

Gemini Exchange Added to CME Group’s Pioneering Crypto Benchmarks

The Winklevoss twins’ Gemini platform is being added as a constituent exchange for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME Group)’s cryptocurrency reference rates.

As revealed in an official tweet from CME Group on Aug. 8, Gemini will be included in four major crypto pricing indices as of Aug. 30.

CME Group Bitcoin, Ether Indices

As reported, CME Group launched its first two crypto pricing products – the standardized reference rate “CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate” and the spot index “CME CF Bitcoin Real-Time Index” – back in November 2016.

Both were heralded as major stepping stones toward the professionalization of Bitcoin trading and the acceptance of the asset by stalwart traditional trading giants.

In March 2018, the Group launched two analogous products for Ether (ETH): the “CME CF Ether-Dollar Reference Rate” and “CME CF Ether Real Time Index” in partnership with United Kingdom-based crypto futures-focused exchange Crypto Facilities.

Ahead of the addition of Gemini, these pricing products drew on transactions and order book activity data from major industry trading platforms such as Bitstamp, Coinbase, itBit and Kraken (Coinbase is, however, not cited in relation to CME Group’s Ether products).

Crypto index fever

CME Group was notably preceded by the New York Stock Exchange’s NYSE Bitcoin Index, which went live in May 2015 – a product that NYSE operator Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) claimed was the first-ever exchange-calculated and disseminated Bitcoin index.

Since these early offerings, crypto pricing products – many targeting institutional clients – have become increasingly more sophisticated and widespread.

This June, the half a million traditional traders using the Reuters and Bloomberg financial terminals were provided with access to a new AI-powered index for the 100 strongest-performing cryptocurrencies and tokens.

London-based crypto data provider CryptoCompare launched an Exchange Benchmark product this year ranking over 100 global crypto spot exchanges worldwide, having previously announced a partnership with Nasdaq to release a new crypto pricing product, as well as a joint venture with BitMEX to build a crypto futures dataset.

At the end of April, Nasdaq introduced XRP Liquid Index (XRRLX) to its global data service. Nasdaq had previously begun listing Brave New Coin’s Bitcoin Liquid Index and Ethereum Liquid Index.

In March, CoinMarketCap announced the launch of two cryptocurrency benchmark indices on Nasdaq Global Index Data Service, Bloomberg Terminal, Thomson Reuters Eikon and Börse Stuttgart.

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