Dubai’s crypto regulator to launch metaverse headquarters in The Sandbox

Quick Take

  • VARA’s “MetaHQ” will be based at an unknown location in The Sandbox.
  • The launch is part of Dubai’s attempts to turn itself into a virtual asset hub.

Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) announced plans on Tuesday to establish a metaverse headquarters in The Sandbox virtual world.

“Our presence in the metaverse... marks the beginning of a new phase in the Dubai government's march for the future; one that will have a positive impact in the long run," Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, said in a statement to the WAM news agency.

The authority has so far been light on detail about what the role of its “MetaHQ” will be, although in a statement it said it would “serve as its primary channel to engage [Virtual Asset Service Providers] across the globe to initiate applications, enable younger licensees [to] enter the metaverse, openly share knowledge and experiences with consumers and peer regulators to raise awareness, enable safe adoption, and drive global interoperability.”

The location of the HQ within The Sandbox has not yet been revealed.

VARA was launched at the beginning of March to create an advanced legal framework and regulatory system for virtual assets in Dubai and the rest of the UAE.

Firms which wish to operate in the UAE must not only have a business presence in-country, but obtain a crypto license from VARA. It also regulates the activities of custodians and asset managers in the cryptocurrency space.

However, it is additionally part of government attempts to turn Dubai into a hub for virtual assets and the digital economy. To that end, it has already had some success, having lured several large companies away from Singapore such as Bybit and Three Arrows Capital.

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