VARA Issues New Guidelines for Virtual Asset Service Providers in Dubai

Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA), the body in charge of supervising cryptocurrency regulations inside Dubai, has announced new rules for virtual asset service providers (VASPs) operating within the emirate. VASPs refers to companies that offer services related to virtual assets.

According to Irina Heaver, a crypto and blockchain lawyer based in the United Arab Emirates, VARA has issued its “Full Market Product Regulations.” These regulations include four mandatory rulebooks and activity-specific rulebooks that lay out the rules for operating VASPs. Irina Heaver is quoted as saying that VARA has issued its “Full Market Product Regulations.” Only market players located inside Dubai are subject to the laws; those operating within the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), which is a free zone with its own independent regulatory agency, are excluded.

Additionally, the Dubai regulator emphasized that all market players, regardless of whether or not they are licensed by VARA, are required to comply to legislation regarding marketing, advertising, and promotion restrictions. Infringers will get a fee that ranges from 20,000 to 200,000 dirhams ($5,500 to $55,000), while repeat offenders face the possibility of penalties reaching as high as 500,000 dirhams ($135,000).

In addition, the rules provide direction on a variety of other topics, such as the distribution of virtual assets. According to Heaver, the most important points from the latest update from VARA are that it is illegal to issue privacy coins in Dubai and that traders whose trading capital is more than $250 million are obliged to register with VARA. Other key takeaways include the following:

In addition, costs for advising services, licensing, and yearly monitoring of custody, exchanges, broker-dealers, and loan services are established by the law. The costs might vary anywhere from 40,000 to 200,000 dirhams ($11,000 to $55,000), and they are expressed in the former currency.

“Regulatory clarity is tremendously beneficial to the business community. Consumers, investors, and the Emirate of Dubai all stand to benefit from this development. The restrictions have been anticipated for a very long time and are generally well received.

Heaver added that despite the fact that VARA has a broad authority to interpret the regulations and apply them in the way it sees fit, she believes and trusts that such interpretation and application will be done in line with “the spirit of Dubai’s leadership,” which takes into consideration business acumen and encouraging entrepreneurial endeavors.


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The DeFi space is on a path of steady recovery as good actors

The harm that was inflicted by the collapse of major cryptocurrency ecosystems in the previous year is on its way to making a gradual comeback as positive actors take aggressive initiatives to reestablish investors’ faith. Principal participants from the ecosystem of decentralized finance (DeFi) got together to discuss the benefits of running trustless, interoperable, and permissionless systems.

Over thirty DeFi protocols participated in an endeavor to “permissionlessly” distribute tweets from other protocols for a period of twenty-four hours, beginning on February 6 and continuing until February 7. This served to showcase the permissionless and interoperable nature of Web3.

This campaign has contributions from a number of different projects, some of which include, MakerDAO, SushiSwap, and Aave.

Despite the fact that DeFi has gained widespread recognition and big institutions have made their entry into the field, its image is still fragile owing to the numerous exploits that it has participated in.

The chief marketing officer of MakerDAO, Mamun Rashid, said that in order to fulfill the “full potential” of DeFi, there has to be a partnership between the ideas and the talent that is present in the field.

“By working together, we will be able to push the limits of conventional banking and create a financial system that is more welcoming and accessible thanks to decentralized money.”

The “spirit” of DeFi was characterized as a more collaborative environment, rather than a more competitive one, by the projects that were working together on the campaign.

According to Jared Grey, CEO of SushiSwap, the goal of the construction of DeFi is to disrupt the status quo of recognized financial frameworks, which have traditionally been known to impose hurdles and decrease economic freedom.

“By using the modularity of this cutting-edge technology, we are able to democratize the financial industry and provide tools and services that are more egalitarian, safer, and more transparent to an audience on a global scale.”

According to what Grey stated, the obligation to represent the genuine meaning of Defiantly Fiction begins in the space itself. Therefore, the initiative taken by more than 30 builders inside the area and the unity shown by those builders came at a crucial moment.

The DeFi domain has been a primary focus of adventures throughout the course of the last year. According to a study that was compiled by Beosin in 2022, the greatest number of assaults were launched against DeFi-based initiatives.

This weakness was the root cause of a 47.4% increase in security losses in 2022 when compared to the previous year’s total of $3.64 billion in losses, which came to a total.

Additional research from the industry has shown that it is reasonable to anticipate that the current trend of DeFi exploits will continue into this year owing to the introduction of new products to the market and the development of more skilled cybercriminals.

According to a research published by DappRadar, despite this, the industry saw strong growth to begin the year. To encourage more people to use DeFi and Cosmos, the company Injective established a new ecosystem fund in the amount of $150 million in January.


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Damus, a decentralized social network teased an upcoming feature

The decentralized social network Damus has hinted that its mobile application will soon include a feature that would enable users to earn satoshis, the smallest fraction of Bitcoin (BTC), depending on the interaction they get on their posts on the site.

In a tweet, the Damus team brought attention to the fact that the “coming soon” version of the app would have a function that enables users to earn satoshis and that this function will be available “soon”. After the first statement, the team did not give any more information.

Damus markets itself as a decentralized social network that is user-run and does not depend on centralized businesses for its functionality. The program is based on Nostr, which stands for “Notes and Other Stuff Transmitted by Relays.” It is a decentralized network that makes it possible for users to communicate with one another in a private setting. Within the confines of its network, there are no servers. Instead, messages are sent across the system through a decentralized network of relays.

Members of the community as a whole have shown their enthusiasm for the newly implemented Damus function, with some even going so far as to refer to Nostr as “the future of monetization.”

Jack Dorsey, who formerly served as CEO of Twitter, has also been showing his support for the Nostr initiative by contributing financial resources to its creators. Dorsey said on the 16th of December that he had contributed 14 BTC, which was equivalent to around $250,000 at the time, to assist in the growth of the decentralized social network.

On February 1, Damus was released to the public on the Apple App Store and became accessible for users of the iPhone to download. After this, Jack Dorsey also announced the news through his Twitter account, where he referred to the change as a new “milestone” for open-source protocol development.

Back on December 14, the former CEO of Twitter advocated for the establishment of a decentralized Twitter alternative. This was in response to the publication of the findings of an internal inquiry that had been headed by Elon Musk and had shown problems relating to censorship on Twitter. Dorsey addressed various solutions to the problems, such as resistance to control by corporations or governments, giving writers the authority to delete their own material, and using algorithmic moderation.


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550 BNB lost in contract exploit by decentralized exchange

Recently, the decentralized exchange (DEX) system known as CoW Swap came under assault, resulting in the loss of at least 550 BNB (BNB) due to a contract hack that permitted money transfers away from the platform.

The occurrence was spotted by the blockchain surveyor MevRefund, which also noticed that the cash seemed to be migrating away from the CoW Swap exchange. In a Twitter thread, the maximum extractable value (MEV) searcher sent a warning to the DEX and the users of the exchange about the vulnerability.

A wallet address was reportedly added as a “solver” of CoW Swap by using a multisig, as stated by the company BlockSec, which audits smart contracts. The address then initiated the transaction to authorise DAI (DAI) to SwapGuard, which resulted in SwapGuard transferring DAI from the CoW Swap settlement contract to other addresses. DAI was transferred to other addresses by SwapGuard.

The blockchain security company PeckShield calculated that around 551 BNB, which had a value of $181,600 at the time this article was written, had been stolen. Following the theft of the assets, the hacker sent the money to the famed cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash.

During the assault, several members of the community had a momentary moment of fear and advised other users to remove their approvals from the DEX. On the other hand, the protocol for decentralized finance (DeFi) said that this is not required.

A research from DappRadar states that in spite of the hacks that have occurred in relation to DeFi, the industry as a whole has gotten off to a fruitful start in 2023. According to the data collected, the overall value of locked procedures had a considerable increase during the month of January.

In other developments, the United Nations has claimed that cybercriminals operating out of North Korea stole a greater quantity of cryptocurrency in 2022 than to any previous year. According to the findings of the research, cybercriminals with ties to North Korea were responsible for the theft of crypto assets valued at between $630 million and $1 billion in 2017.

Disclaimer: CoW Swap’s remarks and the official Twitter announcement have been included to this post after it was modified.


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CEO Sues Board Members for Seizing Control of Crypto Miner

The Chief Executive Officer of the cryptocurrency miner Layer1 Technologies has filed a lawsuit against the other two board members of the business, one of whom being Jakov Dolic, the co-founder of the company. The complaint alleges that the defendants violated several policies and procedures of the company. This allegation is reinforced by the plaintiff’s charges, which state that the defendants improperly appropriated Layer1’s activities for their own benefit. The plaintiff is the one who brought this lawsuit.

The action against Dolic and fellow board member Tobias Ebel was filed with the Delaware Chancery Court on February 2, by John Harney, the Chief Executive Officer of Layer1, and DGF Investments Inc., an investment corporation having its home in the British Virgin Islands. Dolic and Ebel were named as the targets of the lawsuit. When the complaint was first filed against Dolic and Ebel, it was Harney and DGF Investments Inc. who were the ones to commence the legal proceedings by doing so.

The complaint alleges that both Dolic and Ebel took advantage of a lack of leadership at Layer1’s equity parent Enigma in order to gain control of the Bitcoin mining firm and manage it as their “own personal fiefdom.” The complaint also alleges that they did this in order to enrich themselves financially. This is what the claims that are included in the complaint allege to be the case. It is speculated that this took place at Enigma, the equity parent company of Layer1, and that a power vacuum was used in order to accomplish the task.

Harney and DGF Investments Inc., which owns a majority stake in Enigma, claim that the defendants have “usurped the authority” of Layer1’s CEO and prevented Harney from “responsibly operating Layer1.” They say this happened because the defendants “obstructed” Harney’s ability to “responsibly operate Layer1.” They claim that this occurrence had place as a result of the defendants’ “obstruction” of Harney’s capacity to “responsibly run Layer1.” They claim that this happens because of the interference that the defendants provide, which precludes Harney from “responsibly running Layer1.” Both of these accusations are being brought up as potential claims in the legal action that has been taken against the defendants.


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Former Coinbase Product Manager Seeks to Dismiss SEC Charges of Insider Trading

A former product manager at the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has made a formal request to have the allegations of suspected illegal insider trading dropped against them. Since the tokens that are being alleged to have been traded by him are not securities, his legal team believes that the charges should be dismissed as groundless. The fact that this is the case is the primary justification for dismissing the charges.

Ishan Wahi, a former employee of Coinbase, and Nikhil Wahi, his brother, are both being represented by attorneys who, on February 6, filed a motion in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington requesting that the charges brought against them by the Securities and Exchange Commission be dropped. Ishan Wahi is also being represented by his brother, Nikhil Wahi. Nikhil Wahi is also being represented by attorneys. Attorneys are also defending Nikhil Wahi’s interests in this case. Ishan Wahi was a member of the Coinbase team in the past.

The SEC filed charges of insider trading against the brothers and their associate Sameer Ramani in July of last year, alleging that the three of them made $1.1 million using Ishan’s tips on the timing and names of tokens in upcoming Coinbase listings. The SEC filed these charges against the brothers and their associate Sameer Ramani. These allegations were brought against both of the brothers as well as their colleague Sameer Ramani by the SEC. Additionally, allegations were made against Sameer Ramani that he engaged in insider trading.

The attorneys prepared a report that was more than 80 pages long and in it they described the many ways in which the SEC’s statements were “incorrect.”

They stated that the bitcoins that were supposedly sold by the Wahi family did not satisfy the legal definition of a security since they did not have a “investment contract written or inferred.” This was the basis for their argument. To put it another way, there was neither a written nor an inferred agreement between the parties to invest in the bitcoins. Instead, they compared bitcoins to collectibles like baseball cards and stuffed animals, like stuffed animals and stuffed animals.


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North Korea Stole Over $1 Billion in Crypto in 2022

According to an unclassified study from the United Nations, cybercriminals operating out of North Korea stole more digital assets in 2022 than in any previous year.

According to Reuters, the UN report was sent to a 15-person committee that is in charge of imposing sanctions on North Korea one week ago.

Following attacks on the computer networks of international aerospace and military corporations, it was discovered that hackers with ties to North Korea were responsible for between $630 million and more than $1 billion worth of crypto assets being stolen in 2017.

The United Nations research found that cyber assaults were more sophisticated than in previous years, making it more difficult than it has ever been to track down monies that have been stolen.

The independent sanctions monitors stated in their report to the United Nations Security Council Committee that “[North Korea] used increasingly sophisticated cyber techniques both to gain access to digital networks involved in cyber finance and to steal information of potential value, including information related to its weapons programs.”

A report published on February 1 by the blockchain analytics company Chainalysis came to a similar conclusion last week. According to this report, North Korean hackers were responsible for the theft of at least $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency in 2022, making it the worst year ever for crypto hacking.

According to the company, the cybercriminal syndicates have been the most “productive bitcoin hackers over the last several years.”

According to Chainalysis, “For comparison, North Korea’s entire exports in 2020 comprised $142 million worth of products,” thus it isn’t a reach to argue that hacking cryptocurrencies is a major portion of the nation’s economy.

According to Chainalysis, at least $1.1 billion of the stolen wealth was acquired via hacks of decentralized finance protocols. This indicates that North Korea was one of the driving factors behind the trend of hacking decentralized financial protocols that accelerated in 2022.

The company also discovered that hackers with ties to North Korea often transfer huge quantities of money to mixers like Tornado Cash and Sinbad.

According to Chainalysis, the pace at which assets stolen by other persons or organizations are transferred to mixers is far lower than the rate at which funds stolen by hackers with ties to North Korea are transferred.

North Korea has frequently denied allegations that it is responsible for cyberattacks; however, the new UN report alleges that North Korea’s primary intelligence bureau, the Reconnaissance General Bureau, utilizes several groups such as Kimsuky, Lazarus Group, and Andariel specifically for the purpose of conducting cyberattacks.

According to the report published by the United Nations, “these actors continued to illicitly target victims in order to earn income and solicit information of value to the DPRK, particularly its weapons programmes.”

Last week, the entire report was presented to the North Korea sanctions committee of the 15-member council. According to recent reports, it is expected that the report will be made public either later this month or early in March.


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The Bank of England and the United Kingdom’s Treasury are working on a digital asset

The Bank of England (BoE) and the Treasury of the United Kingdom are moving on with plans to establish a digital currency that might “offer a new method to pay” without necessarily replacing cash. These ideas are in the early stages.

A joint consultation paper on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) is scheduled to be released on February 7, with the Bank of England and the Treasury seeking views on how and if they should continue with establishing a CBDC. The topic of the document is central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

Jeremy Hunt, the Minister of Finance, made an announcement to the public on February 6 indicating that the two organizations will collaborate in an effort to build a modernized digital payments system that does not necessarily exclude the usage of cash.

“While cash is here to stay, a digital pound issued and backed by the Bank of England could be a new way to pay that is trusted, accessible, and easy to use,” he said. He continued by saying that “we want to investigate what is possible first, while always making sure that we protect financial stability.”

Officials from the Bank of England and the Treasury Department anticipate that large technology firms will provide a government-backed alternative to privately produced stablecoins over the next few years. This will be another significant area of attention that will be addressed.

As part of the statement, Governor of the Bank of England Andrew Bailey highlighted the fact that a “digital pound would enable a new method to pay, benefit companies, retain faith in money, and better safeguard financial stability.”

“However, there are a number of ramifications that will need to be thoroughly considered by our technical work. This consultation, together with the further work that will be done by the bank at this time, will provide the groundwork for what would be a major choice for the nation about the manner in which we use money.

A speech by BoE Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe is also scheduled to take place on February 7. The purpose of this address is to provide the financial sector with an update on the central bank and Treasury’s CBDC work to far.

It was proposed that even if they choose to continue ahead with the project, the construction of the blockchain-based infrastructure that would support the digital pound would not take place until at least the year 2025.

Related: According to new study, London has become the world’s most crypto-ready city for commercial use.

Rishi Sunak, the current prime minister and a former finance minister, issued an order in April 2021 mandating that the Bank of England and the Treasury work together to establish the Central Bank Digital Currency Taskforce. The two individuals are essentially entrusted with supervising the investigation as well as the possible deployment of the digital pound.

Although it seems to have been a slow burn so far, given how cautious the BoE and Treasury’s stances are, the latter did post a job listing to LinkedIn on January 24 calling for a team lead for its Payments and Fintech Team of approximately 20 people focused exploring on a “potential digital pound.” Despite the fact that it appears to have been a slow burn so far, given how cautious the BoE and Treasury’s stances are, the Treasury did post the job listing.


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The creator of the nonfungible token collection Bored Ape Yacht Club

The legal dispute between the inventor of the nonfungible token collection Bored Ape Yacht Club and one of the developers of a copycat collection known as RR/BAYC has been resolved via a settlement.

On February 6, Yuga Labs reached a settlement in a legal dispute involving Thomas Lehman, the creator of websites and a smart contract that sold “misleading” BAYC NFTs from digital artist Ryder Ripps. The complaint had been filed against Yuga Labs by Lehman.

In January, the company that was responsible for the blue-chip collection filed a lawsuit against Lehman due to his participation in and technical assistance of the collection of imitation monkeys.

The lawsuit claims that Lehman provided assistance to Ripps and Jeremy Cahen in the process of developing and promoting NFTs on social media. Regarding the two collections, it said that this was a “deliberate attempt to undermine Yuga Labs at the cost of customers by sowing uncertainty,” and it claimed that this was a “planned endeavor.”

According to Law360, as part of the settlement, Yuga Labs and Lehman agreed to a permanent injunction that prohibits Lehman from using any “confusingly similar” BAYC imagery or operating any social media accounts that insinuate association with the company. This provision was included in the agreement between the two parties.

Lehman claimed in a statement that “it was never my purpose to tarnish Yuga Labs’ reputation, and I reject any derogatory remarks made about Yuga Labs and its founders and appreciate their many good contributions to the NFT field.” This was mentioned in reference to the allegations that Lehman had made.

A spokesperson for Yuga told Law360 that the company is pleased that Lehman “acknowledged his role in assisting former cohorts, Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen, to infringe on Yuga Labs’ trademarks in developing, marketing, and selling counterfeit NFTs.” Ryder Ripps and Jeremy Cahen are accused of developing, marketing, and selling counterfeit versions of Yuga Labs’ cryptocurrencies.

On the other hand, there are other distinct instances that are still active over Ripps’ usage of photos from the BAYC collection. Additionally, a lawsuit has been filed against Jeremy Cahen for allegedly replicating Yuga’s business practices and selling identical items on the same marketplaces.

Yuga filed a lawsuit against Ripps and Cahen in June, stating that the artists were “trolling Yuga Labs and tricking customers” into buying their copycats. Ripps and Cahen were both named as defendants in the lawsuit. In addition to this, the lawsuit said that Ripps profited over $5 million by “pumping and dumping bogus NFTs.”

On January 30, the investor rights protection law firm Rosen underlined that investors who acquired Yuga’s BAYC NFTs or its native token ApeCoin (APE) might join a securities class-action complaint against the company. The claim is being brought against Yuga for violations of federal securities laws.

In December, Rosen filed a lawsuit against Yuga Labs, claiming that the company had violated United States securities laws by providing false information to investors on the financial advantages of holding NFTs and tokens and by utilizing celebrity marketers.


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Webaverse Co-Founder Reveals $4 Million Crypto Hack

After having a meeting with con artists who pretended to be investors in a hotel lobby in Rome, the co-founder of the Web3 metaverse gaming engine known as “Webaverse” has stated that the company was the victim of a $4 million crypto heist.

According to the co-founder Ahad Shams, the most peculiar feature of the incident is the fact that the cryptocurrency was taken from a Trust Wallet that had just been set up and that the hack took place at some time during the meeting.

He asserts that the burglars had no way of knowing the private key since he was not linked to a public WiFi network at the time and they would not have had access to it.

Shams thinks that the burglars were able to access the wallet while she was photographing the contents of the wallet to record the amount.

The letter, which was published on Twitter on February 7 and comprises testimonies from Webaverse and Shams, explains that they met with a guy called “Mr. Safra” on November 26 after many weeks of negotiations regarding the possibility of receiving funds.

Shams provided the following explanation: “We communicated with ‘Mr. Safra’ by email and video chats, and he stated that he wanted to invest in interesting Web3 startups.”

“He explained that he had been scammed by people in crypto before, and so he collected our IDs for KYC, and stipulated as a requirement that we fly into Rome to meet him because it was important to meet IRL to ‘get comfortable’ with who we were each doing business with,” he added. “He explained that he had been scammed by people in crypto before.”

Even though Shams was initially skeptical, he agreed to meet “Mr. Safra” and his “banker” in person in the lobby of a hotel in Rome. During this meeting, Shams was supposed to show “Mr. Safra” the “proof of funds” for the project, which “Mr. Safra” claimed he needed in order to begin the “paperwork.””

“Despite the fact that we reluctantly agreed to the Trust Wallet ‘evidence,’ we went ahead and set up a brand new account for Trust Wallet at home on a device that we don’t often use when interacting with them. Our logic led us to believe that even if we lost our private keys or seed phrases, the monies would still be secure “explained Shams.

When we first got together, the three of us sat across from each other and put four million USDC into the Trust Wallet. “Mr. Safra” requested to see the current balances on the Trust Wallet app, at which point he pulled out his phone and pretended to “shoot some photographs.”

Shams clarified that he was of the opinion that everything was above board since “Mr. Safra” did not have access to any private keys or seed phrases.

But as “Mr. Safra” left the conference room, ostensibly to confer with his other banking colleagues, he vanished without a trace and was never seen again. Then Shams saw the disappearance of the cash.

“We were never able to locate him again. After a few minutes, the money was gone from the wallet.

Shams reported the theft to a local police station in Rome almost soon after it occurred, and a few days later she sent an Internet Crime Complaint (IC3) form to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States.


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