February 8, 2023

Dubai’s VARA Issues New Regulations for Virtual Asset Service Providers

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Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA), the body that regulates virtual assets in the emirate, has issued new guidelines for virtual asset service providers to ensure economic sustainability and cross-border financial security.

According to a press release by the Government of Dubai, the Virtual Assets and Related Activities Regulations 2023 seeks to reach greater clarity on the expected level of operator responsibility by offering gold-standard risk assurance and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) standards, which all licensed entities in Dubai are expected to adhere.

In this regard, Chairman of VARA’s Executive Board Helal Saeed Almarri said the Dubai Economic Agenda ‘D33’ was a beacon that drives VARA to make the emirate the capital of future economy backed by technologies of the metaverse, Web 3.0, blockchain, and AI.

“VARA launches the first-of-its-kind VA framework structured to accelerate our New Economy agenda, augmenting secure, and sustainable ‘global’ market growth. This custom-designed construct reflects UAE’s commitment to building responsible safeguards, and Dubai’s confidence in delivering a progressive VA ecosystem that nurtures next-gen innovation,” Almarri added.

Commenting on the new regulations, Irina Heaver, a UAE-based crypto and blockchain lawyer said regulatory certainty is very good for business, customers, investors, and the whole emirate.

The new regulations cover seven licensed virtual asset activities, including VA activities – Advisory services, broker-dealer services, custodial services, exchange services, lending-borrowing services, payments, and remittances services, and VA management and investment services.

It is worth noting that any firm or entity seeking to engage in crypto activities should get a license and approval from the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA), according to a UAE Cabinet’s decision.

Over 1,650 organizations were identified as part of the UAE blockchain ecosystem by the end of 2022, according to Crypto Oasis.

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