Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

UK crypto lender Nexo to set up in Emirates

Antoni Trenchev, co-founder of Nexo, says they manage $3 billion of transactions each day LinkedIn/in/antoni-trenchev
Antoni Trenchev, co-founder of Nexo, says it has $3 billion assets currently under management
  • 150 workers to be recruited
  • Company will set up in Dubai
  • MD says most bad crypto actors have been ‘washed out’

UK-based crypto lender Nexo is opening offices in the UAE as it looks to grow its Middle East business to 30 percent of its total global operations.

The company, which has five million users across 200 jurisdictions, is setting up in Dubai where a workforce of 150 will be recruited, according to MD and co-founder Antoni Trenchev.

“We are seeking two lines of regulation,” Trenchev said. “One is for the crypto-related activities, and the other will be for more traditional offerings associated with wealth management.

“There appears to be a political will to create a blockchain fintech financial hub in the region but more specifically Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which is always welcoming,” he said.

“Not all jurisdictions and governments have this level of comfort and desire to interact with crypto and fintech.”

Trenchev’s comments could be aimed particularly at regulators in the US, after Nexo was sanctioned by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in January for failing to regulate a crypto lending product.

SEC chairman Gary Gensler said at the time: “Compliance with our time-tested public policies isn’t a choice. Where crypto companies do not comply, we will continue to follow the facts and the law to hold them accountable.”

Nexo agreed to pay a $45 million penalty to both the SEC and state regulators without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings.

It also prompted the company to halve the number of products and services it offers in the US market as of April 1 this year.

“In the Middle East the rules are being developed as we go, but there is the clear desire to have the business here,” Trenchev said.

“Whereas in the US, when you deal with the various agencies and you assess their moves, you’re not really sure whether they want to have any crypto there apart from maybe bitcoin.

“I think for investors and clients the regulatory dangers were hanging over our collective heads like the sword of Damocles. It’s no way unique for Nexo – everybody is on edge about how the regulators are going to react.

“A lot of companies got sued by the SEC and a few like Nexo and Kraken were able to put the US saga behind them by settling.”

The market value of cryptocurrency fell from a peak in 2021 of $3 trillion to just over $1 trillion as the war in Ukraine, coupled with inflationary fears and higher interest rates, hit markets.

This, alongside a number of scandals including the high profile collapse of FTX which handled an estimated $1 billion of transactions each day, sent shock waves across crypto exchanges.

Trenchev said Nexo has gone from managing about $15 billion to $3 billion today.

“The industry as such is not without sins,” he said. “I like to think that a lot, if not most, of the bad actors have been washed out of the crypto ecosystem.

“It is a cleansing of the space that will lead to further and higher standards for people to adhere to.”

Latest articles

An artist's impression of part of the Diriyah Square development

Diriyah Square planned for historic Riyadh district

A public space featuring 400 retail outlets and 100 restaurants and cafes is planned for the historic Riyadh district of Diriyah. Diriyah Square will be announced next week at the World Retail Congress in Paris and aims to attract a combination of international retail brands and local artisans.  Diriyah Gate Development Authority group CEO Jerry […]

Nature, Undersea cables account for as much as 90 percent of Europe-Asia telecommunications, Water

Iraq and Kuwait team up for European telecom corridor

Iraq’s Informatics and Telecommunication Public Company, a division of the Ministry of Communications, has signed an agreement with Kuwait’s Zajil Telecom to create a telecommunications corridor from the Gulf region to Europe, transiting through Iraq and Turkey. The new route will pass through Iraqi sea and land ports. Iraq’s minister of communications Hayam Al-Yasiri said […]

Passengers at Beijing Capital International Airport. Air China will fly from the airport to Riyadh three times a week.

Third Chinese airline to launch flights to Saudi Arabia

Air China is set to begin flights to Riyadh in May, becoming the third Chinese airline to establish a route to Saudi Arabia. It joins China Southern and Eastern Airlines in connecting China with the kingdom.  Air China’s Airbus A330-300 will serve the Beijing-Riyadh route three times a week. The expansion in capacity between the […]

Highway traffic in California. Opec said the upcoming 'driving season' in the US will provide the usual additional demand for fuel

Opec stands by predictions for oil demand growth

Opec predicts robust fuel use this summer and has stuck to last month’s forecast of relatively strong growth in oil demand in 2024 and 2025. The oil producers’ organisation predicted in its monthly report that global demand will rise by 2.25 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2024 and by 1.85 million bpd in 2025. […]