A new digital assets hedge fund has launched in Abu Dhabi following an in-principle approval (IPA) from Abu Dhabi’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) with a target of raising $50 million in additional capital this year.

Triton Liquid has been launched by Chris Keshian, its chief investment officer and founder, and a team of five, anchored by $30 million from venture capital (VC) fund FJ Labs, with $43 million assets under management at the time of writing.

Chris Keshian, CIO of Triton Liquid. Image courtesy: Triton Liquid
Chris Keshian, CIO of Triton Liquid. Image courtesy: Triton Liquid
Chris Keshian, CIO of Triton Liquid. Image courtesy: Triton Liquid

The New York-based VC fund’s previous investments include Alibaba, Stripe, Revolut, Klarna and financial wellness company ABHI.

Triton recently received its IPA for Financial Services Permission (FSP) from the FSRA in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and has a target to raise $50 million in additional capital this year. 

Keshian, a US citizen who launched the Triton fund while he was a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), told Zawya that it invests in early-stage ventures, consisting currently of 32 assets across 24 categories.

“We invest in projects on a category basis,” he said. “I assess 12 projects that are all competing and trying to do the same thing, then I would decide which of these will win and invest accordingly.”

Investments so far include Synthetix - a derivatives liquidity protocol for derivatives trading in decentralised finance - and blockchain platform Solana.

Why Abu Dhabi?

Triton chose Abu Dhabi as it sees the UAE as an emerging global crypto hub.

“It will be one of the three jurisdictions along with Hong Kong and Singapore that capture the lion’s share of entrepreneurs and people and funds who want this to see this become a real asset class,” Keshian said.

“The leadership here is incredibly favourable to digital assets and the space overall,” he added.

In the United States, there have been attempts to fit the “fundamentally different” asset class of digital assets into the framework set down by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), he said, adding that a proper regulatory regime like those being set up in the UAE is what is needed. 

“Here, the FSRA and ADGM, they are attempting to regulate it in a progressive way, apply new frameworks to it. We are very much in favour of that because that creates a mature asset class,” he said.

(Reporting by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Seban Scaria)