Dubai creates agency for virtual asset regulation

Dubai unveiled a new agency tasked with virtual asset regulation on Wednesday as its leadership looks to solidify the city’s position in the emerging global digital economy.

The Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) will operate as an affiliated agency of the Dubai World Trade Center and will focus on compliance and disclosures of virtual asset service providers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to a government announcement today. The new agency will also handle the UAE’s crypto licensing regime.

These crypto licenses will only be given to firms that establish a business presence in the UAE. Apart from crypto exchanges, VARA will also regulate the activities of custodians and asset managers in the cryptocurrency space.

Wednesday’s news confirms earlier reports that authorities in Dubai were working towards establishing a virtual asset licensing regime before the end of the first quarter. At the time, reports stated that the development was based on a collaboration between crypto exchange giant Binance and the Dubai World Trade Center.