In July, exchanges flocked to get approvals under Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority to expand their operations within the region.
Dubai has positioned itself as one of the most crypto-friendly cities, having established a new regulator to cement the United Arab Emirates’ position in the crypto space. Following the move, crypto exchanges began to flock to the region, securing the newly formed regulator's approval to operate within the region.
In March, Dubai’s authorities announced a new law on crypto assets and established a new regulating body called the Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA). The regulator is tasked with organizing the issuance and trading of virtual assets and virtual tokens, authorizing virtual asset service providers, ensuring the protection of personal data, organizing the operations of virtual asset platforms and preventing price manipulation.
VARA has regulatory authority within the Emirate’s special development and free zones. However, it does not have jurisdiction over the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). In a previous interview with Cointelegraph, Kokila Alagh, the founder of a UAE-based law firm, explained that the DIFC is governed by its own independent regulator, the Dubai Financial Services Authority.
With the region providing much regulatory clarity and an intention to become a key player in contributing to the future of crypto, exchanges took the opportunity to jump into the region, securing provisional approvals from VARA. In July alone, many exchanges secured approvals to expand their reach in the region.
On July 14, the exchange OKX made a push into Dubai when it acquired a provisional license under VARA. According to the OKX team, the license allows the exchange to extend its services and products within the region. This means it can offer added services for specific investors and financial service providers in Dubai.
Crypto exchange Huobi Global jumped into the train as it secured a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) license under VARA. In an announcement sent to Cointelegraph on July 15, Huobi noted that Huobi Investment FZE, a UAE-based entity under Huobi, was authorized to offer its products and services under VARA’s specialized parameters. Following this, the exchange plans to set up a headquarters in the region.
Komainu, a firm working with institutions to gain crypto exposure, announced that it was granted approval to operate within the region on July 27. With the authorization to operate, the custodian can extend its custody services for blockchain-based digital assets to firms within the region.
FTX FZE, a subsidiary of crypto exchange FTX, secured an operating license from VARA on July 29. The firm secured the approval under the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) license, allowing the exchange to fully operate within the region and letting it provide regulated crypto derivatives and trading services to qualified institutions. Previously, FTX also secured the virtual asset exchange (VAX) license under VARA.