Dubai regulator grants MVP preliminary license

Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority has granted a preliminary license for a minimum viable product (MVP), according to (VARA).

Following getting preliminary approval from the Dubai administration in 2022, the exchange was issued this license for preparatory activity. During the preparatory phase, the MVP license enables the exchange to comply with the VARA operational standards. The rules specify that no company may engage in or seem to engage in any virtual asset activity in Dubai via advertising and promotions unless authorized and controlled by VARA.

The VARA of Dubai was founded in March 2022 and is responsible for regulating, monitoring, and managing virtual assets and virtual asset activity in all zones of the Emirate of Dubai, except the Dubai International Financial Centre.

During the preparatory phase of the VARA regime, the MVP phase enables approved licensees to satisfy all prerequisites for conducting MVP market operations. When the license is activated, will be allowed to provide spot and derivatives products for virtual assets. Institutional investors may be offered exchange services, brokerage, margin or leverage trading, and over-the-counter products focusing on settlements.

According to the statement, was granted the MVP provisional license after a comprehensive review of the exchange. Examined were key personnel, governance processes, anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing capabilities, Know Your Customer rules and procedures, ultimate beneficial owner policies and procedures, compliance practices, and cross-border security measures.

According to VARA’s chief executive officer, Henson Orser, VARA’s regulatory policy will be helpful in creating a robust and resilient ecosystem that will result in a more secure global market for virtual assets. He believed that incorporating companies such as would assist the organization in achieving its objective of developing a contemporary, forward-thinking regulatory framework.

Recently, has grown its global reach. The majority of significant markets, including as the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and others, have authorized and licensed the exchange. It also obtained a payment institution license in Brazil.

Binance got an MVP license in the past after modifying its operational procedures and securing other regulatory permits.


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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 UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani Al-Zeyoudi

Thani Al-Zeyoudi, the minister of state for international trade of the United Arab Emirates, has predicted that cryptocurrency would play a “significant role” in the country’s participation in global commerce in the future.

Al-Zeyoudi provided a number of updates regarding the United Arab Emirates’ trade partnerships and policies heading into 2023 during an interview with Bloomberg that took place on January 20 in Davos, Switzerland, which is the location where world leaders are currently gathered for the 2023 World Economic Forum.

In his remarks pertaining to the cryptocurrency industry, the minister claimed that “crypto will play a big role for UAE commerce moving ahead,” and he went on to emphasise that “the most important thing is that we establish global regulation when it comes to cryptocurrencies and crypto enterprises.”

Al-Zeyoudi went on to suggest that as the UAE works on its crypto regulatory regime, the focus will be on making the Gulf country a hub with crypto-friendly policies that also have sufficient protections in place: “We started attracting some of the companies to the country with the aim that we’ll build together the right governance and legal system, which is needed.” [Translation:] “We started attracting some of the companies to the country with the aim that we’ll build together the right governance and legal system,

Al-remarks Zeyoudi’s come less than a week after the UAE Cabinet adopted a new regulation, which, in essence, ensures that entities engaging in crypto activities must secure a licence and approval from the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority. Al-remarks Zeyoudi’s come as a result of recent developments in the cryptocurrency market (VARA).

Under the terms of the new legislation, businesses who fail to comply risk incurring penalties of up to $2.7 million.

This action adds to the “Guiding Principles” for the regulation and supervision of digital assets that were released in September by the financial regulator of Abu Dhabi’s Global Market free economic zone.

The principles lay forth a welcoming attitude toward cryptocurrencies while also making a commitment to comply with international norms on anti-money laundering (AML), countering the funding of terrorism (CFT), and supporting financial sanctions.

In addition, Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence and the Digital Economy of the United Arab Emirates, participated in a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum on January 19 that was centred on cryptocurrency.

Al Olama made the point that while the FTX scandal was a significant cause for worry, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) still intends to operate as a hub despite all that has transpired.

According to him, the fact that crypto firms choose the UAE to be their home is unquestionably a good thing.

The minister also distanced the United Arab Emirates from accusations that its towns, like as Dubai, tend to become major sites for discredited crypto personalities to run to. He said that “bad actors don’t have a country and don’t have a destination.”

However, he did emphasise that governments do need to collaborate in order to prevent bad actors from fleeing the country and going on the run internationally.

“They are there in every single place.

You will see them in the Bahamas, you will see them in New York, and you will see them in London. What we need to do as governments is work together, and we need to work with the industry as well, to ensure that if someone does something wrong, he can’t move from one place to the other, and you will see them there “he said.


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Crypto Firm Q9 Capital Wins Dubai’s Regulatory Approval for Provisional Virtual Asset

Crypto investment platform Q9 Capital has received regulatory approval for a provisional virtual asset (VA) from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA), the company announced.

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The entry into the UAE is part of the company’s expansion efforts and aims to acquire a full operating license in accordance with VARA requirements.

“Q9 aims to make a meaningful contribution to the VARA ecosystem as an engine for crypto product creation and execution in a regulated environment,” the company said.

VARA is the world’s first independent regulator for virtual assets. 

Following the approval, investors can create and execute products and strategies on Q9’s platform. Furthermore, investors can build and access systematic investment portfolios and white-labelled offerings within VARA’s framework. The company said that the global distribution of these portfolios and offerings will be conducted in an “automated, transparent, regulated and compliant manner.”

Q9 Capital is a crypto investment management platform which helps crypto and TradeFi firms to “expand their offerings, distribute innovative products and simplify operations for enhanced innovation.”

The company’s management system allows investors to build, customize and fully-automate systematic portfolios. They can do so by using a wide product range and simultaneously accessing the entire market.

In Dubai, after winning a full operating license, Q9 will gain access to run its key features to help crypto and TradeFi firms by extending products and services to qualified investors and financial service providers.

Furthermore, Q9 plans to set up a regional hub in Dubai to expand and develop its business in the region and globally.

Besides gaining provisional approval in Dubai, other registrations for Q9 include Hong Kong.

According to Blockchain.News, Dubai is one of the most active influencers among gulf nations. 

While many state actors may see it as a threat, many others are embracing the opportunities it brings. Dubai comes off as one of the latter, with the slew of licenses being granted to cryptocurrency exchanges today.

Besides Q9, other companies, such as the crypto trading platform OKX have also been given the green light to operate in Dubai.

As announced by the crypto trading platform, the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) granted it a provisional virtual assets (VA) license in July, an allowance that will let it offer targeted crypto products to qualifying investors.

Besides OKX, the duo of Binance and Huobi have also tapped related licenses to operate in Dubai. The implication of this is not just for the benefit of the exchanges. The masses will also have a unique diversity in their payment options, while the government will be able to generate revenue in the form of taxes.

Besides its role as one of the world’s most visited tourist locations, Dubai aims to become the financial epicentre of the Middle East, then the world. While the growth of digital assets in the region can be attributed to the bullish nature of VARA, chances are that Dubai will eventually become the most sought-after rallying point for crypto exchanges in the near term.

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Dubai Seeks to Become Hub of Metaverse

Dubai has set the ball rolling to improve people’s lives and render creative solutions by positioning itself as the global capital of Web3 through its new blockchain and metaverse technology, according to local media outlet Gulf Today. 

Launched its Metaverse Strategy Plan in July, Dubai sees it as a stepping stone toward attracting new projects and firms to the city as well as boosting global and regional economies. 

The metaverse plan also seeks to propel contributions from the digital currency ecosystem to $4 billion from the present $500 million.

Pratik Rawal, the managing partner at Ascent Partners, pointed out:

“From retail shopping to healthcare and manufacturing, the metaverse is becoming pervasive in countless industries. It is transforming industries by expediting virtual operations seamlessly and offering business opportunities for investors.” 

To bring the world to people’s fingertips, the metaverse seeks to offer blended experience through spatial computing, virtual reality (VR), sensorial tech, and augmented reality (AR). 

Helal Saeed Almarri, the chairman of the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), noted:

“Dubai Metaverse Assembly is a flagship launch that signals Dubai’s readiness to move forward with its metaverse strategy – and industry engagement is at the core of its success.”

The Dubai Metaverse Assembly is an event that is expected to cement the city’s quest to be a major player in Web3 technologies and the metaverse. It is anticipated to hold at least 40 global organizations and 300 delegates.

A recent CNBC report pointed out that Dubai was reaping the dividends of new tech investments because it had laid the grounds for a post-pandemic boom through a business-friendly and low-tax environment.

As a result, Dubai has become a global tech hub with a major catalyst of crypto.

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London-based crypto firm announced Friday that it has received regulatory approval to operate its exchange in Dubai, a city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Following the approval, the U.K.-based firm said it has signed an agreement with VARA to allow to open an office in Dubai, believing it will soon begin offering regulated crypto derivatives products to institutional investors in Dubai. Amongst its plans is to offer transaction and custodial services to retail users in the UAE.

This development from comes at a time when more and more crypto companies including FTX, Binance and others are expanding their footprints in Dubai.

On March 11, Dubai launched Virtual Asset Licensing (VAL) for crypto businesses. The VAL Act led to the establishment of the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA),

After Dubai began offering virtual asset licenses, many crypto companies set up shops in Dubai, making the Gulf country the latest jurisdiction to become the center of the global crypto industry.

In August, announced that it had received full regulatory approval from the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) to operate its exchange and clearing house in the Cayman Islands.

Last month, said the registration is an important part of its global plans to provide services across Europe and across the world, as the exchange just get approval from the Italian regulator.

The exchange said that compliance and regulatory approvals would be sought in each regional country, and the company is also committed to developing in countries such as France, Spain, and the Netherlands.

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Dubai Sees Crypto as Stepping Stone Towards Global Tech Hub

Dubai is reaping the dividends of new tech investments because it has laid the grounds for a post-pandemic boom through a business-friendly and low-taxes environment, according to CNBC.


The city has become a global tech hub, with crypto being a major catalyst. 

Ola Doudin, the co-founder of cryptocurrency platform BitOasis, noted:

“We’re definitely seeing Dubai leading that race, competing with other financial hubs and really positioning itself as a global crypto hub.”

Dubai has already set the ball rolling as a significant blockchain hub. For instance, the Dubai economy got powered by the UAE KYC (Know-Your-Customer) blockchain platform in July 2020. This prompted instant bank accounting functionality, secure digital customer onboarding, and sharing of verified data between financial institutions and licensing authorities. 

Doudin pointed out how Dubai handled the pandemic is paying off because more people want to move to the city. He stated:

“Dubai, and the UAE overall, is a world-class example of dealing with a pandemic. Now you see talent internationally, from all parts of the world, wanting to move to Dubai.”

This correlates with the fact that Dubai welcomed 7.12 million overnight visitors in the first half of 2022, recording at least 183% growth compared to a similar period in 2021, according to Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET).

Government agencies in the city are also jumping on the crypto bandwagon. For instance, the Dubai Police recently revealed plans to roll out the second bunch of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) after the first collection attracted approximately 23 million people globally, Blockchain.News reported. 

The Dubai police released the first NFTs in late March as part of a campaign to showcase its security, innovation, and communication values. They comprised 150 free digital assets.

Image source: Shutterstock


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PwC Veteran Quits Role to Establish Digital Asset Fund in Dubai

Henri Arslanian, the former Global Head of crypto at the financial advisory firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), has launched his own crypto-dedicated venture capital firm, Nine Blocks Capital Management, and has chosen Dubai as the outfit’s base of operation.


According to a report from the Financial Times (FT), Nine Blocks will be bootstrapped by its Hong Kong-based primary shareholder, Nine Masts Capital, with $75 million.

Nine Blocks is kickstarting its operations at a time when most firms in the digital assets ecosystem have taken a beating in recent times due to the market onslaught steered by the May collapse of Terraform Labs’ native tokens UST and LUNA. Nine Blocks has notably positioned three portfolio managers in the Cayman Islands and will seek to inject capital into firms irrespective of their geographical location.

According to Arslanian, the choice of Dubai was hinged on the city’s bullish approach to help guide the growth of the blockchain ecosystem on its shores. As disclosed to the FT, Nine Blocks has already secured the provisional regulatory approval to operate in the city.

“Hong Kong would have been a natural home for us”, said Arslanian, adding that Nine Blocks had also considered Singapore. “However, when we looked at the broader ecosystem . . . Cayman and Dubai made a natural choice.”

Arslanian said Dubai offers ease of travel and its time zone makes it easy to connect with other regions in the Middle East and Asia. 

Dubai is notably transforming itself as an emerging crypto power hub, with firms like Binance and FTX having recently received the license to operate there. The positioning of Dubai gives it a very fair advantage seeing how other major destination points for the digital currency ecosystem, including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Seoul, are gradually tightening their fists when it comes to crypto firms looking to do business there.

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FTX Gets Full Approval to Operate Crypto Exchange in Dubai

FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange headquartered in the Bahamas, announced on Friday that it has received a full regulatory approval to operate its exchange and clearing house in Dubai, a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

With the approval, the Bahamas-based company said it will begin offering regulated crypto derivatives products and trading services to institutional investors in Dubai as well as operating a nonfungible token marketplace and providing custodial services to retail users in the UAE.

Balsam Danhach, head of FTX Middle East and North Africa, talked about the development and said: “Our license expands to retail customers as well, however, it will be a gradual scale up to ensure that we approach the retail market within the guidelines set by the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (Dubai’s sector regulator).”

The exchange stated that the services would be provided by FTX Exchange FZE, a subsidiary of FTX’s division for Europe and the Middle East.

In March this year, FTX obtained a partial license in Dubai, in which it mentioned it would develop a regional headquarter in the city.

Danhach did not say whether FTX plans to expand and get licenses in other Gulf (Arabian) countries in the Middle East region.

UAE Becoming A Regional Destination

The development by FTX happens when an increasing number of crypto firms are expanding their footprints in Dubai.

On 11th March, Dubai introduced virtual assets license (VAL) for crypto-businesses. The VAL Law led to the establishment of the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), which is responsible for supervising the legal framework for businesses related to digital assets, including crypto assets, virtual assets, and non-fungible tokens (NFT).

VAL and VARA are milestones, and reflect Dubai’s vision to become one of the jurisdictions of choice for groups, investors, and entrepreneurs in crypto-businesses and blockchain technology.

As a result, many crypto firms have been rushing to establish their shops in Dubai after the city began to offer virtual asset licenses, making the Gulf state the latest jurisdiction seeking to become a hub for the global crypto industry.

In late March, exchange Bybit announced plans to relocate its global headquarters from Singapore to Dubai after it obtained an in-principle approval to operate a range of digital asset businesses in the city. That happened the same day that said it would create a regional hub office there.

The two exchanges joined major industry players FTX and Binance in establishing a foothold in the city.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Crypto Exchange Huobi Receives Virtual-asset License in Dubai

Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi has received provisional approval from the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), joining other crypto exchanges to expand its footprints in the gulf-nation.

The company plans to expand its operations in the UAE and expand its team in Dubai, hoping to gain a foothold in the emerging UAE market.

The latest license comes after other key competitors acquired a similar permit from Dubai’s authority, such as cryptocurrency platform OKX (formerly known as OKEx), which received a temporary virtual asset license from Dubai authorities. The exchange plans to establish a regional centre in the city., allowing the company to offer a “full suite of virtual asset exchange products and services” to clients in the gulf-nation.

The Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) has granted it a provisional virtual asset (VA) license, allowing it to offer targeted crypto products to accredited investors. While the move complements the exchange’s efforts to go global, highlighting many aspects of its compliance capabilities, it says more about VARA’s benevolent and forward-looking stance.

With the permission of the new license, the foundation has been laid for the trading platform to establish a regional headquarters of the exchange in Dubai and develop a more comprehensive business in the region.

Zhang Li, CFO of Huobi Group, said: “The Dubai Government is committed to turning the Emirates into a global hub for the future digital economy and being at the forefront of financial innovation. Huobi is optimistic about the city’s potential and the future opportunities it offers.”

In a statement by Huobi, the spot and over-the-counter (OTC) services will be aimed at professional investors. These services will be “expanded to a limited number of accredited investors and professional financial service providers.”

Likewise, HBIT Inc, one of the subsidiaries of Huobi Technologies, has received the Money Services Business Registration License (MSB) issued by the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Bureau (FinCEN).

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