DKK Partners FZE, subsidiary of DKK Partners a fintech company, has announced that it has been granted an initial approval by the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) for crypto brokerage dealer services.

DKK Partners FZE will continue to work towards acquiring a full Virtual Asset Service Provider crypto broker license from VARA.

The VARA initial approval allows DKK FZE to move forward in the licensing process as they look to offer corporate and institutional customers in Dubai and the UAE access to stablecoin blockchain technology, utilizing USDT and USDC.

Khalid Talukder, Co-Founder and CEO of DKK Partners, stated, “It is an incredibly exciting time for DKK in the Middle East and securing the VARA Initial approval will enable us to continue making a splash in the region. Our expansion to Dubai last year was a huge success and we’re looking to extend our influence in the market by strengthening our compliance and innovation in the Virtual Asset space. This license is a game-changer for DKK and the digital asset landscape in Dubai empowering businesses to confidently engage in blockchain technology, benefiting from the stability of stablecoins and the regulatory framework.”

Victoria Albergini, Head of Partnerships for DKK Partners FZE in Dubai added, “Since our launch last year, DKK Dubai has gone from strength to strength and is now in a prime position in the rapidly evolving digital asset landscape. The VARA initial approval enhances our ability to serve the unique needs of corporate and institutional customers.”

According to a recent interview by Zawya, with, Bandar AlTunisi, Head of Development at Binance in Saudi Arabia, high level digital currency regulation could come out in Saudi Arabia tomorrow or in a month’s time.

He states, “With discussions on cryptocurrency ongoing at several Saudi government bodies, Saudi Arabia, is looking forward to possible “high-level” regulation for digital currencies in the country this year.”

AlTunisi said there had been growth over the past seven years.  “It could be tomorrow, it could be in a month’s time, but once they’re ready, they will move quickly, which is what excites us about the Saudi market. I am hopeful about this year, but it is dependent on a lot of different factors,” he said.

Bader Al Kalooti, Head of Binance Middle East, Africa and Southern Asia (MEASA) and Turkey, said: “It is still very early. Relatively speaking, this is a nascent industry. The way these things tend to work, you will have disruptive technology roll out, then it takes a while to demonstrate that there is a product market fit, that people want this technology, then the regulations catch up.”

Dubai and Bahrain were early movers, he said, and other markets will catch up, although it will not happen overnight.

Bodies involved in studying potential crypto regulation include the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA), the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), which will be involved from a blockchain point of view, and the Capital Markets Authority (CMA).

Saudi Arabia also launched the Financial Sector Development Programme in 2018, under which the development of cryptocurrency regulation could also fall.

The creation of such regulation would be followed by a period of understanding how the regulations will be applied, AlTunisi said. Saudi is a priority market for crypto in general as well as Binance, he said.

“There is no other major exchange that has boots on the ground in Saudi in the way Binance does,” he adds, “Saudi is one of those places where once they move, they move big/. We really anticipate that there is going to be movement soon, and once they do, it is going to be a huge catalyst for growth in the industry.”

LaraontheBlock spoke withNaquib Mohammed, Founder and CEO of MRHB Network, who recently started operations in KSA, explained, ” We have been in meeting with stakeholders from SAMA ( Saudi Central Bank) on a regular basis. SAMA is working on regulations, but there is nothing happening anytime this year.”

MENA is home to three of the top 30 countries receiving crypto in Chainalysis index: Turkey (12), Morocco (20), and Iran (28). However, Turkey dominates in terms of raw transaction volume, but interestingly Saudi Arabia comes in third in terms of crypto value received, with UAE coming in at number two and Turkey taking number one place.

Notabene, a crypto compliance firm that offers compliance solutions with FATF Travel Rule, has shown interest in Qatar’s proposed digital assets regulatory rules framework and has commented on Qatar’s consultation paper.

Notabene offers Safe Transact platform that helps financial institutions and crypto businesses unlock their full potential in the digital economy. With a focus on security, privacy, and end-user experience, Notabene customers use a multi-source data and software to automate real-time decision-making, perform counterparty sanctions screening, identify self-hosted wallets, and complete the smooth roll out of Travel Rule compliance, all in line with global and local regulations.

In a recent tweet on X Notabene welcomed the opportunity to comment on Qatar’s proposed digital assets regulatory rules consultation paper.

Notabene noted that they applaud the Qatar Financial Centre (“QFC”) Regulatory Authority (“Regulatory Authority”) and the Qatar Financial Centre Authority (“QFC Authority”) for taking the time to put together a comprehensive framework for digital assets.

Notabene added,” The process undertaken by both the QFC Regulatory Authority and QFC Authority to solicit public engagement on this important topic and welcome the opportunity to be part of the ongoing dialogue.”

Notabene, the crypto industry’s y pre-transaction authorization decision making platform, helps to identify and stop high-risk activity before it occurs. The platform offers a secure, holistic view of crypto transactions, enabling customers to automate real-time decision-making, perform counterparty sanctions screening, identify self-hosted wallets, conduct VASP Due Diligence, and complete the smooth rollout of Travel Rule compliance, in line with global regulations.

According to Notabene only Travel Rule compliance gives VASPs transaction-level counterparty and sanction insight, allowing them to recognize if their clients are sending transactions to sanctioned entities, wallets, or jurisdictions. VASPs worldwide are in different stages of compliance, which leaves many companies vulnerable to exposure to sanctioned individuals.

In its comment to Qatar’s consultation paper, Notabene states, “In particular, strict compliance with the Travel Rule is a prerequisite for VASPs to obtain licenses in these jurisdictions. We recommend that the QFC Regulatory Authority take the same approach. The ideal way to avoid dealing with non-compliance after settlement and its associated challenges is to ensure both TSPs assess and approve the
transaction before the Originator TSP executes it. This is in line with FATF’s recommendations.”

Qatar recently released its digital assets framework requesting feedback on it by January 2nd 2024.

The DFSA ( Dubai Financial Services Authority) the regulatory arm of Dubai’s International Financial center recently announced that it would be updating its crypto assets regulatory framework with new amendments that would cover crypto assets, crypto custody DeFi, stablecoins, crypto investment funds money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as blockchain and crypto in insurance

It is asking for feedback on its consultation paper by March 3rd 2024. One of the most interesting topics mentioned by DFSA was utilization of Blockchain and crypto in insurance.

The DFSA noted in their consultation paper that given that crypto tokens are being discussed in the context of insurance including the utilization of DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology), for insurance, as well as crypto tokens for denominating policies, receiving premiums and paying out claims, even underwriting risks in crypto market, has prompted DFSA to seek feedback.

DFSA is seeking feedback on market trends regarding underwriting Crypto Token specific risks and associated regulatory risks; regulatory risks, and the prudential treatment of crypto exposures where Insurers receive premiums and pay out claims in Crypto Tokens.

In parrallel BCG recently published an article on how insurance firms are utilizing metaverse and blockchain in their operations, and how this trend will grow.

According to BCG some firms use blockchain records to process claims and detect fraud, while others deploy the technology to offer customized insurance products. It is noteworthy that UAE’s Ministry of Health has utilized blockchain technology for some time now.

BCG believes there are six strategic opportunities for the insurance industry after BCG evaluated leading insurance companies on 43 relevant dimensions and found that insurance companies were not only willing but it was feasible for them to do so.

According to BCG, insurance companies can increase revenues by using blockchain technologies.

Blockchain technology-related revenues for the insurance industry are expected to rise from their 2022 level of $425 million to about $37 billion by 2030. This represents revenue growth of 70% per year.

BCG’s analysis found that 60% of insurance companies are already investing in blockchain, and 80% of their C-suite executives believe that blockchain can enable efficiencies. The increase in revenues is expected to develop within the broader context of a $708 billion revenue gain across all industries and regions from metaverse and blockchain technologies.

The many use cases for metaverse and blockchain technologies fall into six broad strategic opportunities that can unlock substantial business value.

Insure Digital assets

First it can create new revenue streams. Firms can underwrite policies that insure digital assets, such as non-fungible tokens (NFT) cryptocurrency investments, and cryptocurrency keys. Firms can also commercialize the assessment tools used to underwrite emerging risks.

Insurers can also create new revenue streams by developing offerings to address risks related to metaverse technologies. For example, virtual-asset policies can insure against risks such as cyber-attacks and data loses, which are inherent to virtual environments.

Smart Contracts for transactions

The second opportunity is smart contracts, programs stored in a blockchain that run when certain conditions are met and that keep a verified record of all related transactions, which can particularly help insurers expand their product portfolio.

Firms can use smart contracts to create new types of policies that can be activated and deactivated on demand. Specialized underwriters can pool their knowledge to write multiparty insurance policies, each underwriting the risks with which they feel comfortable, and use smart contracts to manage the complexity. And carriers can use smart contracts to offer inexpensive contingency-based insurance for many small risks that would otherwise be difficult to insure. For example, companies could cover short-term work engagements for freelancers, one-time events for commercial venues, seasonal residential rentals for homeowners, and transactions by drivers working with ride-sharing services.

Improved underwriting

Insurers can also improve Underwriting and Claims Processes. Insurers can use blockchain and metaverse technologies to improve some underwriting and claims processes. In doing so, companies can improve the reliability of customer data, reducing existing loss ratios and decreasing the risk profile of the entire portfolio.

By implementing blockchain, an insurer can access the end-to-end record of an insured object’s life cycle, enabling more accurate underwriting and preventing fraud. An insurer can not only store the current value of the insured object but also trace back its provenance, seeing the object’s value whenever it was bought and sold. The insurer will also be able to see its value at the time of all subsequent transactions.

Detect frauds, settle claims

In addition Blockchain systems can help detect fraud by assessing data reliability, thereby avoiding settlement costs for false claims. The systems can also reduce the costs associated with high-volume, low-value claims by making it easier to manage them. Additionally, the automated ledger and tracking inherent in blockchain systems can streamline operational inefficiencies and reduce delays in settling claims. The latter two benefits are possible given the immutability of a blockchain ledger and blockchain’s capability to monitor policyholders’ digital identities using digital identity wallets.

OneDegree in UAE to insure digital assets

The announcement made by DIFC comes just after Hong Kong based digital asset insurance provider, OneDegree, announced it was expanding its offering to the UAE through a local partnership with Dubai Insurance Company.

Both UAE local entity and OneDegree will insure digital asset firms in the UAE using its OneInFinity product offering.

OneDegree is in the process of setting up its entity in Dubai UAE. The company will offer several types of insurance required by the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority’s (VARA) new cryptocurrency regulatory regime in Dubai, including commercial crime insurance, professional indemnity insurance, and directors and officers insurance.


The discussion both on a regulatory level, as well as in terms of partnerships on the ground in UAE for implementing blockchain and crypto in the insurance industry, is a reflection of the readiness the UAE is at in terms of digital asset adoption.

For many when insurance companies start ensuring crypto, NFTs, and digital assets that means the technology and the regulations around it have become mature, and is a pre-requisite for the onbaording of institutional investors.

The Qatar Central Bank( QCB)  sets to attract Big Tech and Fintech entities in the fields of Blockchain, AI, Tokenization, Digital assets and crypto to the country.

As per its third financial sector strategy launched by HE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohamed Bin Abdulrahman Bin Jassim Al Thani, the Qatar Central Bank recommended enhancing financial inclusion, measures to facilitate building a world-class shared market infrastructure and establishing a financial technology talent center of excellence.

The third financial sector strategy is to make Qatar a leading ecosystem embracing emerging technologies to accelerate digital transformation supported by adaptable and consistent regulatory frameworks and trusted market infrastructure. The regulatory framework is one of the key initiatives and aims to develop framework for DLT ( Distributed Ledger Technology), Blockchain, Crypto and digital assets as well as Decentralized Finance (DeFi). The regulations will ensure a trusted, legal and economic environment for AML, IP rights, and KYC KYT.

Growth areas include payments ecosystem specifically retails, as well as introduction of solutions such as robo advisory, Blockchain, artificial intelligence, digital assets and tokenization.  It also includes digitization in Islamic Finance and ESG (Environmental Social Governance).

The strategy contains 48 actionable items with 20 high priority ones as per the strategy.

The Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority and QFC Authority have jointly developed a QFC digital assets framework, as well as launched their digital assets lab which will work as a sandbox for incubating startups.

QCB governor Sheikh Bandar bin Mohamed bin Saoud al-Thani. Stated,”We believe in the importance of digital finance ecosystem in supporting the development process. As a result, we have adopted this ecosystem as a third pillar within our strategy to lead the digital financial transformation for the sector to be pioneer in the adoption of modern technologies.”

In a recent twist of events, and while the United States gears towards its presidential elections, a new political action Committee (PAC) called Fairshake and its network which includes names such as CoinBase, Kraken and Ripple, have announced that they will be reporting $78 million raised and in the bank at the end of the 2023 to support leaders who support US crypto and Blockchain innovation and responsible regulation in 2024 elections.

Fairshake is dedicated to advancing leaders who are poised to champion innovation and navigate the complexities of responsible regulation in the digital age.

It has already garnered support from Andreessen Horowitz,  Ark, Brian Armstrong, Blockchain Capital, Wences Casares, Circle, CoinBase, Ron Conway, Cumberland, Framework Ventures, Hunter Horsley, Jump Crypto, Kraken, Lightspark, Messari, Multicoin Capital, Paradigm, Potter Ventures, Ripple, Fred Wilson, Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss.

Interestingly Binance and other prominent players are still not on this list.

In a reccent Coinbase blog post the company noted, “The US’s current crypto regulatory standards are sub-par, ultimately driving innovation and financial freedom offshore. Given the stakes, crypto’s superpower of grassroots support will now be amplified through significant spending. Fairshake Super PAC and its affiliates representing the nation’s crypto community, have raised over $78 million – and counting – from 20 companies and leading industry voices to support bipartisan, crypto-forward candidates in 2024. That’s over $78 million to support the 52 million Americans who own digital assets and want a fair shake at the American Dream.”

Fairshake and its affiliates remain steadfast in their mission to support leaders who champion the interests of progressive innovation, including blockchain technology and the crypto industry, through independent advertising efforts.

In the  press release, Fairshake stated,”  In order for the blockchain economy to realize its full potential, a clear regulatory and legal framework for success is needed. The crypto community continues to advance initiatives to promote stability, tech innovation, and growth of the blockchain economy in the U.S., positioning it as a hub for blockchain technology development and adoption.”

Fairshake is a federal independent expenditure-only committee (super PAC) registered with the FEC and supports candidates solely through its independent activities. Protect Progress and Defend American Jobs are also federal super PACs registered with the FEC and are affiliated with Fairshake.

So could we soon be seeing a US president that will foster the crypto blockchain ecosystem in the United States?

IMF discussed its new draft methodology for the supervision of virtual assets during a recent fintech roundtable organized by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff, in collaboration with the UAE Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing. Interestingly the methodology project was financed by a number of countries including Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

In attendance were participants from 15 countries including Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Hamid Al Zaabi, Director-General of the EO AMLCTF, stated, “The UAE continues to raise the effectiveness of its regulatory framework for VAs and VASPs to attract innovative firms and keep out illicit actors seeking to exploit the global financial system. We are delighted to partner with the IMF team to give supervisory authorities across the world the opportunity to strengthen international cooperation and be part of the design process of an important new methodology for VA/VASP supervision”.

Chady El Khoury, Deputy-Division Chief of the Financial Integrity Group within the Legal Department at the IMF, noted the broad consensus among participants on the need for urgent actions to mitigate the potentially significant ML/TF risks emerging from VA and VASPs.

He explained, “It is critically important that countries carry out robust AML/CFT risk-based supervision of VASPs, and that assessing the associated ML/TF risks is the starting point of an effective AML/CFT supervisory regime.”

Participants at the workshop identified a range of issues, including a lack of capacity and resources for supervisory agencies and data collection/analysis gaps. They agreed on the need for strong collaboration among AML/CFT supervisory agencies and upgrading existing ML/TF supervisory risk assessment models to accurately assess VA and VASPs.

In the absence of a clear solution to deal with data collection and related gaps, supervisors may need to rely on models that are more tuned into the inherent risks that VASPs pose with the decision on whether to incorporate data (e.g., transaction level analysis on VA flows) on a case-by-case basis. Finally, a more connected and active community for collaboration between AML/CFT VA and VASP supervisors would help countries to better understand and address cross-border ML/TF risks.

Over the coming months, IMF staff will follow up with participants and incorporate feedback on the methodology. Once finalised, the methodology will form part of the Legal Department of the IMF’s CD toolkit that the organisation will start providing to countries by mid-year 2025.

The methodology was developed under a project that is financed by a donor-supported Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland trust fund to finance CD in AML/CFT at the IMF with excellent support from the UAE to host the event.

In a market notice issued November 17th 2023, the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), confirmed that the deadline for VA sector to engage in the regulatory license elapsed today and that eighteen virtual asset service providers commercially licensed on mainland under Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) have thus far, been issued fines for failing to comply with VARA’s directives and regulatory guidance.

A VARA spokesperson declined to name the eighteen entities in question.

As per the notice, in line with VARA’s commitment to protect consumers, maintain market integrity, and manage security of the Virtual Economy being enabled in and from Dubai, these enforcement actions are a pre-requisite to remedy compliance breaches and assure global markets that VARA’s regime can be trusted to have consistency and resilience in deployment.

The Dubai virtual asset regulator stated that this would be an ongoing process, with additional fines, enforcement actions, and closure of unlicensed VASPs expected. VASPs have until year end to address any regulatory gaps.

Entities seeking to continue to offer virtual asset services in Dubai are urged to contact VARA immediately to avoid further penalties. Consumers are advised to check the VARA website for advice on approved VASPs in Dubai. For further information, please contact VARA via our website or via

This comes a day after CEO Henson Orser stepped down, and 10 days after VARA issued a notice asking all VASPs to finalize their license registrations and requirements.

But there have also been positive news in the VASP licensing arena, with entities such as Fuze Finance receiving a license as well as HexTrust and BackBack in the past 10 days.

In a news piece on Oman News agency, the Board of governors of the Central Bank of Oman, held their third meeting for 2023 where the followed up on developments as well as reviewed the international stance on cryptocurrencies as well as related studies conducted by the executive management team at the central bank on cryptocurrencies.

This comes as Oman works on its virtual asset regulations, having  at the end of July 2023 announced a public consultation paper on virtual assets regulatory framework by the Oman Capital Market Auhtority.The Capital Market Authority, Sultanate of Oman (CMA), which regulates and develops Oman’s financial markets for the capital market and insurance sectors, had earlier announced its plans to establish the new regulatory framework for Virtual Assets (VA) and Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASP).The proposed new regulatory framework is envisaged to cover activities such as crypto assets, tokens, crypto exchanges, and initial coin offerings, among others. CMA had invited relevant stakeholders to provide their views and comments no later than mid August 2023.Oman has also been at the forefront of crypto mining in the region and in August 2023 announced the first phase of Asyad Group crypto mining center was launched in the Free zone in Salalah. Built and managed by Exahertz, a subsidiary of Afaq Advance Technologies firm, the first phase was inaguarated during a ceremony attended by top Omani governmental officials. Later on in the same month Oman-headquartered Green Data City and Abu Dhabi’s Phoenix Group have signed an agreement to develop a 150MW crypto-mining farm in Oman. The new farm will be set up in Green Data City and should be fully operational by Q2 2024, becoming one of the largest crypto-mining data centres in the region.Even in June 2023 the Oma Capital Markets Authority published a decision with regards Instructions for registering virtual asset service providers and applying AML/CFT requirements.So it would seem that while the Central Bank of Oman is reviewing cryptocurrencies both from a local and international perspective, the country is moving forward with its crypto and virtual assets plans.

UAE based BitOasis crypto broker exchange has announced that it has secured an investment from CoinDCX, India’s biggest crypt exchange. This comes after BitOasis’s license was suspended by VARA for not meeting requirements. The latest investment will give BitOasis a new life line.

As per the news, the new capital injection will help to support BitOasis’s vision to amplify its regional presence and secure further licenses in the region.

Commenting on the news, Ola Doudin, Co-Founder and CEO of BitOasis said: “We are delighted to be working with CoinDCX, India’s leading crypto platform. From our first conversations, it was clear we share a common vision and synergies across our markets that we look forward to building towards. The investment will allow us to sharpen our focus on perfecting our existing products and expanding across our markets. We are very excited about the opportunities the funding will unlock for us.”

Sumit Gupta, Co-Founder and CEO of CoinDCX stated: “We are immensely excited about investing in BitOasis, the largest crypto trading platform in the Mena region. We have been impressed by BitOasis’s excellent product offering, strong leadership and their persistence to serve customers in the most secure and compliant manner.”

The investment comes after news that CoinDCX was in talks to acquire BitOasis. BitOasis in the past month had let go of more than 30 employees.

Prior to that VARA had freezed BitOasis’s MVP operational license for non compliance to requirements set by the Dubai virtual asset regulator. 

With this an Indian crypto exchange now has a foothold in the MENA region with the investment in BitOasis.