Further to Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority’s (VARA) previous notices dated 12 April 2023 and 27 April 2023 regarding the conduct of Open Technology Markets Ltd. known as OPNX and opnx.com, VARA has issued the following fines against OPNX including a $2,722,548 equivalent to AED 10,000,000 against OPNX for a Market Offence under Regulation VIII.A.3 of the Virtual Assets and Related Activities Regulations 2023 (Regulations)

As per VARA, this fine was issued on 2 May 2023 and remains unpaid at the time of publication of this notice. 

The VARA notice includes  $54,000 equivalent to AED 200,000 against each of the following 4 persons: OPNX founders Kyle Davies, Su Zhu and Mark Lamb and OPNX CEO Leslie Lamb.

The fines are for violations of Administrative Order No. 01/22 Relating to Regulation of Marketing, Advertising and Promotions Related to Virtual Assets, The fines were issued on 2 May 2023 and have been fully paid by the individuals in question.

All fines noted above were referred to VARA’s Grievance Committee [the Committee formed in accordance with Article 22 of Law No. (4) of 2022 Regulating Virtual Assets in the Emirate of Dubai] in accordance with due governance requirements. The Committee reviewed the referral of the grievance and determined that the enforcement actions taken be upheld in their entirety.

To date, the AED 10MM fine issued against Open Technology Markets Ltd remains unpaid, and VARA shall determine consequential actions warranted against OPNX, which may include further fines, penalties, and/or taking any actions necessary to recover payment in addition to possibly referring the matter to any law enforcement agency(ies) or competent courts.

The Dubai Virtual asset regulatory authority, has issued a formal letter of reprimand to OPNX the tokenized exchange for bankrupt crypto entities,  and its founders for carrying out virtual asset Exchange Services on an unregulated basis in Dubai; and for marketing, promoting and/or advertising OPNX services and its native token [FLEX] without the necessary permits from VARA.

Dubai virtual asset regulator in February 2023 became aware that OPNX exchange was soliciting, and collecting personal data from the public to participate in its new (to be launched) exchange. Through social media platforms, OPNX had been engaged in marketing the exchange without establishing warranted restrictions for residents of Dubai/UAE.

The announcement on VARA goes on to note, “Then on April 4th  OPNX launched the exchange on opnx.com, providing VA Exchange services – a regulated activity under the VARA regime, without securing any regulatory licenses, and as such operating in contravention of local laws.”

As a result VARA issued several cease and desist orders for OPNX followed by the marketplacealert which was later followed with a  written Reprimand issued by VARA to OPNX; 4 founders (Mark Lamb, Sudhu Arumugam, Kyle Davies and Su Zhu); and CEO (Leslie Lamb).

With the continued lack of satisfactory remedial action by the responsible parties, VARA has stated that it is continuing to actively monitor the situation and investigate OPNX’s activity to assess further corrective measures that may be required to protect the market.

This action from VARA comes after OPNX has raised criticsm with some of its recently named investors distancing themselves and refuting investments in OPNX. 

OPNX CEO Lesli Lamb had announced the list of investors which included a saudi arabian investment firm. 

Dubai’s virtual asset regulator, VARA has issued an alert and warning with regards to virtual asset exchange OPNX (opnx.com) which launched on April 4th 2023.

As per VARA’s announcement investors should note that OPNX is not regulated by VARA and any activity being carried out by them in Dubai is being performed on an unregulated basis.

The warning adds that while OPNX.com claims to offer exchange services for complex VA products including but not limited to derivatives and tokenized bankruptcy claims. These products have not been reviewed by VARA, and may not be suitable for all investors;

As per Dubai Law No. (4) of 2022: mandates that all VA Activity must be regulated in order to be deemed permissible in this jurisdiction, and as such, OPNX is not legally authorised to provide any VA services from/in the Emirate of Dubai; and

Cabinet Resolution No. 111/2022: advises the market to not engage with unregulated VASPs

Any promotions, advertising, solicitation and/or marketing of opnx.com or its native token FLEX has not been approved by VARA, and OPNX is hence not permitted to offer, promote or advertise any of its products or services in/from Dubai, or to residents of the Emirate.

The alert also noted that given that OPNX’s products and services are not permitted to be made available to Dubai residents, the market may wish to notify VARA at varaconnect@vara.ae if anyone has been (i) a subject of any of OPNX’s solicitation/ promotional activities; or (ii) their services have been made available to users in the UAE.