Ex-Goldman exec’s crypto platform lands Bahrain license

ARP Digital, a digital asset services company co-founded by former Goldman Sachs partner Yusuf Alireza, has obtained a license from the Central Bank of Bahrain to operate within the country.

This license allows the firm to offer crypto trading, custody, and portfolio management services. Over the weekend, ARP Digital was granted a category-3 license. The approval distinguishes the firm as the sole over-the-counter (OTC) service provider regulated by Bahrain’s Central Bank for structured products. Structured products, which are well-established in traditional finance, cater to investors seeking tailored investment solutions and typically involve derivatives and complex financial instruments.

Targeting high-net-worth individuals, accredited, institutional, and family office investors worldwide, ARP Digital is designed to meet the advanced investment needs of both traditional finance and crypto-native investors. The company provides a range of investment solutions, including off-the-shelf and bespoke options, to align with various market perspectives of its clientele.

ARP Digital also emphasizes inclusivity by offering diverse delivery and settlement choices, such as cash or kind settled OTC products, bankable structured notes, and fund products.

The leadership team features Yusuf Alireza, notable for his 20-year tenure at Goldman Sachs where he became the firm’s first-ever Arab partner. Alongside him, co-founders Abdulla Kanoo and Abdulaziz Kanoo previously served as regional directors for Amber Group’s crypto trading operations in the MENA region.

Despite the structured products sector in digital assets not having captured significant market share within traditional finance, Abdulla Kanoo of ARP Digital highlighted a marked increase in interest from sophisticated investors for such financial products, especially following the approval of spot bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Bahrain is rapidly positioning itself as a major crypto hub in the MENA region, offering a well-regulated ecosystem for both local and international digital asset companies. Yusuf Alireza remarked on the potential benefits for the region from the growth and adoption of digital assets, suggesting that MENA could emerge as a global powerhouse in financial services innovation, particularly in digital assets.

“There has not been a technological development of this magnitude digital assets in the field of Financial Services in the last two decades. The leadership in MENA sees this potential and is positioned to emerge as a global powerhouse,” he added.Top of Form