Ex-PwC Head Floats Crypto Hedge Fund in Dubai

Ex-PWC global crypto head, Henri Arslanian has left the accounting firm to start a $75 million crypto hedge fund in Dubai according to reports.

The new fund called Nine Blocks Capital Management will primarily focus on institutional Investors while operating as a market-neutral crypto fund.

Henri’s Nine Blocks has already received $75 million from Hong Kong-based Nine Masts Capital Management. This makes Nine Masts its main backer and highest shareholder. The firm has set up three brokers in the Cayman Islands after registering with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority.

The new fund also bagged provisional approval from Dubai’s regulator – Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA).

Andrew Goodwin, a former employee of Nine Masts, and about 10 members of Nine Block’s digital asset trading team will join the fund. Andrew will join as co-founder and managing partner.

Even after leaving his post at PwC, Henri will serve the accounting firm in an advisory capacity where his wealth of experience in the ecosystem will still be needed. Speaking on the recent collapse of crypto firms due to the dwindling market, Henri said, the market situation presented an opportunity to build a new institutional-grade digital business.

Dubai is a choice destination for Crypto firms

Gulf city has not always been a hub for crypto-related activities. The recent spate of scrutiny of the sector by regulators in neighboring Asian financial centers and a recently passed crypto-friendly law have turned the tide in its favor.

According to Henri, he settled for Dubai after scrutiny of the broader market for several reasons including its friendly regulatory environment. Furthermore, the ease of travel makes it accessible to other cities. It will therefore serve the region and there’s no need for a branch office.

Dubai’s crypto-friendly policies and “openness” have attracted the city to many industry giants.

Leading cryptocurrency exchange firm Binance announced it had received a virtual asset license to operate under the regulator’s “test-adapt-scale” market model following a discussion between the exchange’s executives and the regulator.

Also, Komainu and OKX have also been approved to provide its services in the city. 

However, Henri also considered Hong Kong for its compulsory hotel quarantine for international travelers.