Ex-Singapore politician launches Dubai’s first regulated NFT investment company

Cedar White Bradley advised Calvin Cheng Web3 Holdings, which was set up under Dubai’s new digital assets law
Cameron Crawford and Calvin Cheng

Cameron Crawford of Cedar White Bradley(l) and Calvin Cheng Images courtesy of Cedar White Bradley

Former Singapore parliamentarian and entrepreneur Calvin Cheng has launched the first fully-regulated NFT investment holding company in Dubai under its new Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) regime.

The company – Calvin Cheng Web3 Holdings – will invest in NFT projects that integrate blockchain technology into fashion, media and entertainment. Cheng said he chose Dubai’s VARA framework over other jurisdictions because of its consumer protection oversight. Dubai-based legal services consultancy Cedar White Bradley (CWB) advised Cheng on the company’s formation.

Cheng said: “Dubai is fast positioning itself as the leading virtual assets hub in the world. Digital assets is a new space, which needs progressive regulators to keep up with entrepreneurs’ focus on innovation and growth. We are proud to be the first NFT VASP (virtual asset service provider) to enter this regulated ecosystem as our commitment to support strong guard rails for the crypto industry to safely grow.”

VARA was established earlier this year as the world’s first specialised regulator of digital assets. It has already granted operating permits to cryptocurrency exchanges Binance, FTX, Crypto.com and Bybit.

Cameron Crawford, a partner and head of CWB’s technology, media and entertainment team, said: “Dubai’s appeal as a destination for the global crypto community is due in large part to the forward-thinking and proactive approach of regulators such as VARA.”

Cheng’s previous ventures have included guiding education tech firm ReTech Technology to an IPO (where he remains chairman) and co-founding fashion event organiser Lumina-Looque Group. Prior to his stint in parliament as a nominated MP – a specialist role appointed by Singapore’s president – Cheng was head of Asia Pacific at Elite Model Management. Upcoming NFT projects include AmberX, an exclusive membership NFT that buys access to Formula One’s VIP entertainment lounge, and Celeb X, a fan token system that allows models, actors and sports stars to engage directly with social media followers.

Last month, Osborne Clarke advised Paris-based crypto asset advisor Arquant Capital on its bid to become the first crypto specialist to be authorised as an asset management company by France’s financial regulator Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF).

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