by Lorna Blount
As Dubai’s relentless summer sun dipped to a mere 35 degrees Celsius, the city’s crypto scene has been turning up the heat. However, there’s one new name hot on everyone’s lips this year – M2...
October and November in the UAE are like Glastonbury for the fintech crowd – but more sharp suits, Lambos and visionary talks, less indie bands and flower crowns. From Future Blockchain Summit to World Blockchain Summit, there’s a constant, exhaustive, stream of conferences, meet-ups, and boat parties; even the personal assistants have their own secretaries.
Cardano and Ripple hosted their flagship events in Dubai, with Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse choosing the city for its leadership in entrepreneurship and regulation.
The term ‘bear market’ is foreign here – the UAE is in its own league when it comes to cryptocurrency. It seems that every other person you meet works in crypto or is looking for their next Web3 investment.
Galaxy Digital’s CEO Michael ‘Novo’ Novogratz made headlines at the AIM Summit by signalling the imminent approval of the Bitcoin ETF by the SEC and its impact on Bitcoin’s price as its institutional access stateside vastly expands. Not a stranger to Dubai, he did say he finds the crypto scene here tricky to navigate – join the club, Novo.
Among the regular regional industry veterans on stage, such as Richard Teng of Binance, Swissborg’s Alex Faisel and Cypher Capital’s Vineet Bukari, there’s a new face in town – Stefan Kimmel, CEO of M2.
M2: The experienced newcomer
Enter M2, the latest big name in the crypto exchange arena. It might be the new kid on the block, but it’s steering the ship with the seasoned hand of Stefan Kimmel, formerly of Kraken Exchange Mena and Emirates NBD Bank as COO. Thanks to the green light from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), M2 is set to offer institutional and retail clients an alluring platform to buy, sell, and custodianship of virtual assets like Bitcoin and Ether.
Kimmel emphasises M2’s foundation, saying: “Whatever we do, whatever we undertake, we want to be fully regulated, licensed, transparent, secure, and safe for customer deposits. That’s the foundation for everything.”
It isn’t just another exchange. With the M2 Earn product, users can enjoy yields of up to 10.5% on Bitcoin and Ethereum, almost exactly double the current interest rate of US bonds (5.27%). Kimmel highlights the appeal.
“We offer above market yields or market-leading yields in a secure environment and a fully transparent and regulated platform,” he explains.
“That’s the core of the offering.”
M2 is looking beyond the Middle Eastern horizon, already securing licences to operate in other jurisdictions around the globe, including Europe, with its sights set on global expansion. Plus, with the introduction of the MMX token, which will allow users to boost yields for M2 Earn products, in addition to offering advanced access to new yield products and digital asset listings, M2 is enhancing the user experience, making it a truly versatile platform for the digital age.
On M2’s competitive edge, Kimmel says: “The advantage is twofold: one is it’s fully regulated, licensed, and secure, which some other exchanges are not. The other one component, of course, is the yield, and that will remain one of our key themes going forward.”
Strategic alliance with Phoenix Group
Adding to its impressive portfolio is a partnership with Phoenix Group – the company behind the Middle East’s largest crypto-mining facility, the Citadel Project. Phoenix’s upcoming IPO on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) is a landmark event, marking the first opportunity for UAE investors to delve into the emerging crypto services space. This IPO is a significant moment, signalling the UAE’s role as a leader in the crypto domain with superior regulatory rules.
M2’s debut in the UAE crypto landscape is more than just a new chapter – it’s a potential game changer.
“We want to have innovative products but in a secure and robust manner,” Kimmel adds.
“We have this blend of people who come from a financial services background who know robust operating procedures, who know risk mitigation and risk management, as well as crypto natives who are much better in driving the innovation that we want to have.”
With a unique blend of seasoned expertise and innovative offerings, M2 is poised to become a leading light in the world of cryptocurrency exchanges. Since Binance is fully regulated in the UAE and occupying the top spot in the market for now with 150 million users worldwide, M2 certainly has its work cut out for them.
I’m excited to see M2 take their stride on their home turf during Abu Dhabi Finance Week, when they will be hosting their official launch party. Watch this space ignite!