Hey there! Exciting news from Dubai, folks! The city known for its futuristic skyline and innovative endeavors has taken a significant step towards embracing the virtual asset industry. The Virtual Assets and Related Activities Regulations 2023 (VARA) has come into play, setting the stage for full regulation of the virtual asset sector in the Emirate of Dubai. And they mean business!

Working hand in hand, VARA has teamed up with Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) and the Free Zone Authorities (FZAs) to ensure a smooth transition to this new regulatory regime. Their aim? To create a secure marketplace, responsible participants, and effective protection for investors and consumers. It’s all about making Dubai the global role model for virtual asset sector development.

Now, what exactly does this mean for operators in the market? Well, according to the Cabinet Resolution No. 111 of 2022, all companies operating or seeking to operate in the virtual asset sector within Dubai must be licensed by VARA. That’s the name of the game. So, for existing Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs), it’s time to declare their desire to undertake regulated activities by submitting an initial disclosure questionnaire (IDQ) to their current licensing authority by April 30th, 2023.

The Secretary-General of the Dubai Free Zones Council, E. Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, highlighted the significance of Dubai’s Free Zones in attracting virtual asset-focused entities. These zones provide a favorable environment for startups, entrepreneurs, and overseas companies, making Dubai an even more appealing destination for virtual asset businesses. It’s all about creating a safe and sustainable operating environment, folks.

If you’re wondering what types of licenses are up for grabs, there are seven distinct categories available: Advisory Services, Broker-Dealer Services, Custody Services, Exchange Services, Lending and Borrowing Services, Transfer and Settlement Services, and Management and Investment Services. Plenty of options to choose from!

Henson Orser, CEO of VARA, emphasized the collaborative efforts between VARA, DET, and the Free Zone Authorities, ensuring a seamless transition for legacy VASPs. They want to make sure these pioneers of innovation have a clear timeline to submit their initial disclosures by the end of April. It’s all about supporting the growth of the industry while maintaining regulatory compliance.

With the introduction of the Virtual Assets and Related Activities Regulations, Dubai aims to establish a model framework for global economic sustainability. The regulations provide clarity, certainty, and risk mitigation, all while fostering innovation in a technology-agnostic and future-focused environment. Dubai is truly paving the way for a borderless, cutting-edge economy.

So, if you’re a virtual asset operator eyeing Dubai as your next business venture, now’s the time to act! With its pro-business reputation, multicultural environment, and commitment to regulation, Dubai is positioning itself as a haven for virtual asset companies seeking a safe and regulated space to thrive.

For more details on the licensing process and the exciting developments in Dubai’s virtual asset sector, head on over to vara.ae. Dubai is ready to embrace the future of finance, and the world is watching as it takes Centre stage in the virtual asset revolution.

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