On the LinkedIn page of Henson Orser, it states that he is the CEO (Chief executive Officer) of Dubai’s virtual asset regulatory authority better known as VARA as of January 2023. This comes as VARA reveals its final crypto framework in the next few weeks.  Previously Orser had held the position of President and Acting CEO of Komainu and was the Co Head of Global markets for Japanese digital bank Nomura.

As most know, VARA was created in March 2022 to regulate the virtual assets ecosystem and grant blockchain and crypto licenses in Dubai. A graduate of Princeton University, Orser is VARA’s first CEO.  Orser is well versed on digital assets, and custody solutions given his former role at Komainu. It is noteworthy that Komainu is one of the few Blockchain enabled DeFi custodians with a presence in Dubai that has been granted an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) license. The only other one is HEX Trust.

While VARA’s website has yet to note the new appointment, in an interview with the Block crypto, Orser stated, “VARA is the first purely virtual asset regulatory authority that is gold standard, tier one and even passportable to other jurisdictions.” He also notes it is compliant with the crypto regulation published by the Financial Action Task Force.

VARA is currently preparing for its MVP phase to allow for approved licensees to fulfill the pre-conditions required to operate. This means that MVP licensees are not allowed to provide any regulated services until VARA’s operationalization of the MVP Phase.

Orser clarified to LaraontheBlock, ” The provisional license during the MVP phase allows for firms to get office space and apply for VISAs etc. They won’t be able to commence operations until final rules and licensing.” 

Orser told The Block crypto that finalized rulebooks for crypto firms will be published on VARA’s website “within weeks.”

In December 2022, Laraontheblock wrote about an article on Pinsentmasons legal firm website which discussed Dubai VARA’s Full market product regulatory regime for virtual assets upcoming rollout. The legal expert Tom Bicknell stated in the piece that after VARA’s roll out of its minimum viable product license regime which allowed participants to undertake their activities within an agreed limited scope and specifically to their authorized market segment, VARA would soon be launching its FMP framework which will seek to monitor global trends of the virtual industry and where appropriate issue further rules and guidance

VARA had granted Binance, and FTX MVP licenses, however FTX’s license was later suspended and revoked after its downfall.

Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) was also the first regulator to enter the Metaverse with the establishment of its Metaverse HQ in  ‘The Sandbox’.