Julius Baer, a Swiss private bank, plans to expand its crypto wealth services in Dubai.

Swiss private banking giant Julius Baer Group is expanding its presence in the crypto market in Dubai. The bank, which began offering Bitcoin and other crypto services to wealthy clients in May last year, sees the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a key geography for digital assets due to its economic development. This expansion represents the bank’s first foray into the crypto market outside of Switzerland.

Julius Baer (Middle East) Ltd., a subsidiary licensed by the Dubai Financial Services Authority, is expected to apply for a variation in its crypto license. This new license would allow the bank to provide custodial services for digital assets.

In addition to its crypto offerings, Julius Baer also recently started offering Lombard lending to select crypto clients. This service allows customers to borrow against digital assets held by the bank.

Julius Baer originally partnered with cryptocurrency bank SEBA in 2019 to provide cutting-edge solutions in digital assets. The bank believes that crypto assets like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) will become a legitimate and sustainable asset class in an investor’s portfolio.

Currently, Julius Baer offers standard advice on crypto assets to clients in 25 countries, including Singapore. The bank’s wealth management services include the top 15 tokens in the market, all of which undergo a thorough due diligence process and review panel.

Dubai Global Crypto Hub Ambitions Coming to Fruition?

Dubai has positioned itself as a global crypto hub in the Middle East. According to a report by cryptocurrency asset management firm Recap, it is the second-largest center of its kind in the world. Despite the tightening of regulations following the collapse of the FTX exchange, Dubai excels as a crypto innovation hub due to strategic policies and a supportive regulatory environment.

Major crypto exchanges such as Binance, OKX, and Crypto.com have sought regulatory approval to operate in Dubai. OKX’s Middle Eastern arm recently received the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) preparatory license from the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), allowing them to offer virtual asset-related services to qualified investors in Dubai. Binance secured the license in September 2022.

VARA was established in March 2022 to regulate the emerging crypto sector in the UAE, as the country aims to become a global hub for the industry.