As the final weeks of 2023 approach, it’s fair to say that one of the most dominant trends and drivers of crypto companies’ strategies over the past months can be summed up in a single word: licenses. 

In a tight regulatory environment, getting the green light from regulators has been crucial for companies, particularly during the crypto winter.

Some countries have taken a stand by developing a crypto-friendly environment. For example, the United Arab Emirates continues to attract major crypto companies to its shores, with digital assets exchange recently receiving a Virtual Assets Service Provider (VASP) license in Dubai. The license allows’s local business to offer retail and institutional trading, as well as broker-dealer and credit-related services.

Dubai also granted a similar license for institutional crypto custodian Hex Trust. The crypto firm has offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, Dubai, Italy and France.

Traditional players are also seeking crypto licenses. In Germany, Commerzbank has been granted a crypto custody license, according to a Nov. 15 announcement, allegedly becoming the first “full-service” bank in the country to receive the license.

Also, in this week’s regulatory headlines, Bitget dropped plans to obtain a Virtual Asset Trading Platform (VATP) license in Hong Kong, citing business and market-related considerations. As a result, the exchange is winding down its local operations in the coming weeks.

Although licenses are essential for crypto firms to operate, they also represent a new step in the growing connection between crypto and governments worldwide.

This week’s Crypto Biz also explores Uniswap’s Android app, Cboe’s move into crypto margin futures trading and Disney’s upcoming nonfungible token (NFT) platform.

Uniswap launches Android wallet app with built-in swap function

Uniswap Labs has publicly released an Android mobile wallet app on the Google Play Store. The new app allows users to make swaps through the decentralized exchange from within the app, eliminating the need for a separate web browser extension, Uniswap Labs vice president of design Callil Capuozzo told EdaFace. Uniswap added support for new languages and now supports English, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, French and Chinese — both traditional and simplified — and added a setting that allows users to view the value of their crypto in their local currency. The app’s iOS version was released in April.

Uniswap mobile app demo. Source: Uniswap Labs.

Disney launches NFT platform with Dapper Labs

Disney and blockchain firm Dapper Labs have teamed up to create a nonfungible token (NFT) platform. According to an announcement, Disney will tokenize its iconic cartoon characters from the past century onto its upcoming NFT marketplace, Disney Pinnacle. The platform will also include icons from Pixar and heroes and villains from the Star Wars galaxy, uniquely styled as collectible and tradable digital pins. The NFT platform will launch later in 2023 for iOS, Android and on the web.

Cboe to launch BTC, ETH margin futures trading in January with 11 firms supporting

Cboe Digital has announced the launch of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) margin futures trading on Jan. 11, 2024. The regulated crypto-native exchange and clearinghouse will become the first in the United States to offer both spot and leveraged derivatives trading on a single platform, it said in a statement. Eleven firms, including crypto and traditional financial firms, will support the new capability from its launch. They include B2C2, BlockFills, Cumberland DRW and Talos, among others. Cboe Digital provides trading for individuals and institutions. It received approval for margin futures trading from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission in June.

Goldman Sachs leads $95 million funding round for blockchain payment firm Fnality

Global investment bank Goldman Sachs and French bank BNP Paribas have reportedly led a new funding round for Fnality, a blockchain-based wholesale payments firm backed by Nomura Group. Fnality has reportedly raised 77.7 million British pounds ($95.09 million) in a second round of funding. Other investors included the global exchange-traded fund firm WisdomTree and Fnality’s existing investor Nomura. The new capital will be used for setting up a round-the-clock global liquidity management network for new digital payment models in wholesale financial markets and emerging tokenized asset markets, Fnality said. Fnality was founded in 2019 as a UBS-led blockchain project aiming to build digital versions of major currencies for wholesale payments and transactions involving digital securities.

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