Dubai authorities introduce new rules for virtual asset service providers

The Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) is introducing updated rules for Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) and crypto companies.

Published on Tuesday, February 7, on the VARA website, the rules detail the requirements for legal entities, from cybersecurity standards to compliance and risk management standards, and also stipulate mandatory licensing.

“With new rules designed to bring clarity, certainty and reduce market risk, VARA wants to create a foundation for global economic resilience in an innovation environment that is truly limitless and future-oriented,” it said in a statement.

The rules apply to market participants outside the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC; previously there were rules only for its residents), a free economic zone with its own regulator. VARA reminded that all market participants, regardless of whether they have a license or not, must comply with the rules of marketing, advertising and promotions.

Violators of the new rules face fines from $5,500 to $55,000. Those who break the rules again can face a fine of up to $135,000.

VARA is a relatively young regulator in Dubai, the most open region of the United Arab Emirates to foreigners. The agency was established to regulate the growing market for NFTs and cryptocurrencies, as well as to monitor the protection of users' personal data.

At the beginning of 2022, the Dubai authorities announced an ambitious intention to make the emirate one of the most advanced regions in terms of presence in the metaverses.. Officials have developed a strategy to create more than 40,000 virtual jobs by 2030.