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.

Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) in a press release has announced that Mathew White will be the new CEO of VARA which comes as VARA intensifies its efforts towards regulating the VASPs in Dubai calling on them to finalize their applications today.

As per the press release, Matthew White has 20 years of experience in technology, cyber security and digital trust while working as a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Former CEO Henson Orser who is leaving to pursue other opportunities will remain fully engaged to support the new CEO as he integrates into his new role.

In a Bloomberg article it noted that VARA is poised to levy fines on over a dozen crypto firms, as the head of Dubai’s crypto regulator is poised to depart after less than a year on the job.

The news comes as VARA calls on more than 1000 legacy firms to complete their applications to register under Dubai’s unique regulatory framework by November 17th 2023, as part of Dubai’s commitment to fostering a transparent and resilient virtual asset environment.

VARA is calling on VASPs that have yet to submit the applications, have missed the notifications from their commercial licensing authorities, or have submitted incomplete forms to proactively get in touch, to avoid unintended regulatory consequences.

It seems with new VARA CEO efforts will be focused on ensuring compliance to regulatory and FATF requirements by VASPs.

Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) announced that while more than 1,000 legacy firms have filed applications to register under Dubai’s unique regulatory framework, underscoring the city’s commitment to fostering a transparent and resilient virtual asset environment, these firms need to complete their applications in ten days, by November 17th 2023.

As per the press release, following the inception of the Authority by Law No. 4 of 2022 and the issuance of VARA regulations in February 2023, Dubai’s Virtual Assets sector, which includes specialist Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) and traditional businesses involved in Virtual Asset activities, became a part of a regulated sector requiring all such legacy operators in the Emirate of Dubai to obtain licenses or registrations under VARA

Further to substantive outreach efforts facilitated in collaboration with the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) and the Dubai Free Zone Council (DFZC) through 2023, VARA’s dedicated licensing team have successfully rolled out an accelerated domestic outreach program.

Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) is advancing its engagement with the virtual asset market to evaluate compliance with its set regulations, emphasizing the obligatory licensing for all Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) in the Emirate. Firms lagging in their application processes have until 17th November 2023 before enforcement mechanisms are due to be triggered by default.

As such VARA is calling on VASPs that have yet to submit the applications, have missed the notifications from their commercial licensing authorities, or have submitted incomplete forms to proactively get in touch, to avoid unintended regulatory consequences.

In recent months VARA has been issuing various market alerts. In its most recent alert it called to attention the media coverage regarding Bitay’s supposed entry into the UAE market, showcasing that unless they have secured approval or regulated by VARA or any other regulatory authority in the UAE. Prior to that it issued a notice with regards to Islamic Coin.

As per VARA, according to Cabinet Resolution No. 111/2022 advises the market to not engage with unregulated VASPs. VARA reaffirmed that Bitay is not regulated by VARA and has not sought to otherwise be registered with VARA.

This latest announcement by VARA comes after the UAE  National Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism and Financing of Illegal Organizations Committee (NAMLCFTC), in collaboration with UAE supervisors, has issued guidance on combating the use of unlicensed virtual asset service providers, which is prepared by the supervisory subcommittee.

The guidance, which aims to educate licensed financial institutions (LFIs) and the wider public sector on the risks associated with unlicensed virtual asset service providers, has been issued pursuant to the Decree Federal Law No.20 of 2018 on Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) and Illegal organizations. It aligns with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) publication on updated guidance for a risk-based approach to virtual assets and virtual asset service providers.

The guidance provides the reporting entities, including LFIs, Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs), and Licenced Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs), with a comprehensive roadmap to enhancing their governance and operational processes. It also highlights how to identify and address governance challenges and emerging risks, underlining the importance of compliance with regulatory obligations under AML legislation and the regulations, instructions, guidelines, notices, and rules issued by the Supervisory Authorities.

The guidance directs the reporting entities to consult the FATF Report on Red Flag Indicators of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing regarding Virtual Assets. It specifically requires them to remain vigilant of the various fraudulent methods unlicensed VASPs adopt; continue to manage money laundering, financing of terrorism, and proliferation financing risks effectively; ensure emerging risks are factored into their business and customer risk assessments; and ensure due diligence is conducted to identify instances of forged documents and sanctions evasion.

As per the guidance, VASPs operating in the UAE without a valid license will be subject to civil and criminal penalties, including, but not limited to, financial sanctions against the entity, owners, and senior managers. Furthermore, reporting entities that demonstrate willful blindness in their dealings with unlicensed VASPs and have weak AML/CFT and Counter Proliferation Financing controls may be subject to enforcement action.

Khaled Mohamed Balama, Governor of the CBUAE and Chairman of the NAMLCFTC, said, “The new guidance on combating the use of unlicensed virtual asset service providers comes at a time when virtual assets become more accessible through digital channels. As our digital economy matures, our work on combating all kinds of financial crimes intensifies through raising awareness of their risks and emphasising the importance of compliance with relevant regulations and legislation to ensure the integrity of the UAE’s financial system.”

The Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism and the Virtual Assets regulatory Authority have signed an MOU to unify VASP ( virtual asset service provider) offering in the city.

The two entities will collaborate to offer a synchronised VA market assurance across the Emirate of Dubai – spanning [Public/Marketplace] Customer Care + Complaints; [Business] On-Site Inspection + Enforcement; [Business] VASP Registration + Licensing; [G2G + G2B + G2C] Education-Training-Knowledge Sharing.

As per the MOU, both parties agree to pool their complementary capabilities to lay robust foundations that will aid Dubai’s GDP contribution to the expanding global New Economy portfolio, reinforcing the city’s reputation as an attractive, innovative, and secure global hub for Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs), operators, and customers.

The MoU’s scope further strengthens VARA’s commitment to achieving full transparency and market conduct adherence across VASPs licensed to operate in Dubai, so that the reputation and credibility of the UAE as the preferred hub for the global sector are automatically established.

VASPs will benefit from seamless workflow processes between both parties with DET adding VARA activities to its system for virtual assets licence issuance. DET will undertake robust inspections and support VARA with in-situ enforcements including deploying penalties such as suspensions or revocations in cases of proven negligence or non-compliance with VARA rules, in addition to Business as Usual application renewals for VASPs that meet VARA’s requirements in full. VARA will be included on DET’s E-Permit system, which will enable one-touch point approvals on VA events and both parties will actively collaborate on awareness campaigns for VARA product and licensing updates, as well as data sharing protocols and legacy onboarding.

In keeping with Dubai Government’s commitment to improving business and market service delivery, this partnership between VARA and DET will also seek to leverage the Dubai Corporation for Consumers Protections & Fair Trade (DCCPFT) department at DET by upgrading it with specialist VA know-how from VARA, thereby optimising government resources and provide a transparent, seamless customer experience.

Both parties will also collaborate on marketing campaigns designed to raise general awareness towards consumer protection and developments in the virtual assets sector including communicating consumer protection information and advice. DET, in co-ordination with VARA, will also publish relevant notices and warnings, including penalty notices and consumer protection advisories, on its website and the DCCPFT website.

According to a recent news release, The UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) has received licensing requests and inquiries from companies intending to provide Virtual Asset services following the issuance of the necessary regulations. The UAE SCA also announced that those who do not apply for a license either to VARA or SCA will be fined $2.7 million.

The move aims to ensure that all companies that provide products and services related to the Virtual Assets sector in the country are fully regulated, as the SCA’s Board of Directors, chaired by Muhammad Ali Al-Shorafa seeks to strengthen the country’s position by ensuring that the local financial markets are among the best globally.

Dr. Maryam Al Suwaidi, CEO of the SCA, stated that pursuant to Cabinet Resolution No. (111) of 2022 regarding the regulation of Virtual Assets and their service providers, which gave the SCA the mandate to issue regulatory decisions for Virtual Asset transactions and license its service providers; the SCA’s Board of Directors issued the necessary decisions, which requires all companies providing Virtual Asset services based in the country (except for companies licensed in Financial Free Zones) to obtain a license from the SCA.

All companies operating in Dubai must only obtain a license from the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), which will inform the SCA to have a unified register of all licensed Virtual Asset service providers in the UAE.

She added that the Virtual Assets sector is among the modern technological industries included in the SCA’s strategy as one of the pillars for sustainable growth of the UAE’s financial markets.

The SCA called upon all companies that practice any of the Virtual Assets services to submit a request immediately to obtain the necessary approval to avoid being subjected to appropriate legal measures, which the Authority will initiate during the next stage, which may include one or more of the following: a warning, a fine not exceeding (AED10 million) equivalent to $2.7 million, or referring the violator to the Public Prosecution.

The SCA also urged all investors to refrain from dealing with any company that provides Virtual Assets services before ensuring that it has the necessary licenses and approvals to protect their investments and not expose them to any risks.

At the end of July 2023, the Oman Capital Market Authority issued a Public Consultation Paper on its Virtual Assets Regulatory Framework.

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).

As per the Oman Capital Market Authority announcement, the entity is currently in the process of drafting the comprehensive and facilitative regulatory framework, which will include a new regulation to cover all virtual assets activities, a licensing framework for all VASP categories and a supervisory framework to identify, assess, and mitigate ongoing risks. This is being done after the CMA had made an extensive global analysis and benchmarking with other jurisdictions.

The proposed new regulatory framework is envisaged to cover activities such as crypto assets, tokens, crypto exchanges, and initial coin offerings, among others.

The CMA has invited public and all relevant stakeholders, VASPs, financial institutions, academics, legal firms, consumer groups and other businesses that may be impacted by the VA and VASP frameworks, to provide their views and comments to the public consultation paper. The public consultation paper may be downloaded from the CMA’s website at

Responses are required within three weeks or before August 17th 2023. Responses to the public consultation paper can be made electronically via email to:

In February 2023, Oman CMA announced its plans to develop a regulatory framework for virtual asets and VASPs. To assist in the development of a comprehensive regulatory framework for virtual assets in Oman, the CMA engaged the services of XReg Consulting Limited, an international policy and regulatory consultancy that specializes in virtual assets, and Said Al-Shahry and Partners, Advocates & Legal Consultants (SASLO), an Omani law firm.

It s no surprise that global crypto exchanges are flocking to the UAE, first it was Binance, then Kraken which left, then, coinbase, and now the second biggest global exchange OKX.

OKX announced unilaterally that it had received a minimal viable Preparatory license from Dubai’s virtual asset regulatory authority (VARA). In 2022 OKX had received its provisional license and opened offices at the Dubai World Trade Centre. 

In the announcement they stressed that the UAE is a key strategic growth and business hub for OKX global with the company planning ot hire 30 staff locals and senior management.

OKX also added that it plans to extend its nine-figure brand partnerships to the UAE with customer and fan-focused activations and activities.

As per the announcement, once licensed to be operational, OKX Middle East will be able to extend its approved suite of duly regulated virtual assets activities and will provide spot, derivatives, and fiat services, including USD and AED deposits, withdrawals and spot-pairs, to institutional and qualified retail customers.

OKX Global Chief Commercial Officer Lennix Lai said, “We’re thrilled to receive the MVP preparatory licence from VARA. Regulated entities are the future of digital assets and capital markets and Dubai and VARA have succeeded in creating a unique environment where VASPs can thrive. With the expansion into a new office this year, we are focused on hiring local staff and senior management. The MENA region has incredible potential as a centre of excellence for Web3 and virtual assets, we look forward to the opportunity to expand the already growing ecosystem across the region.”

OKX Chief Marketing Officer Haider Rafique  added “We’ve been waiting to enter the UAE and we want people here to experience our products first hand. We’re different – we do things in a measured and transparent manner. May was our seventh consecutive month of publishing our proof of reserves, making us the only crypto exchange globally with that commitment. This attitude is consistent with the brand partners who represent us, Manchester City Football Club, McLaren Racing, and the Tribeca Festival. We take our time, and do things the right way.”

But on VARA’s website OKX is not listed in its public register, while, Binance, and BitOasis are. This is despite the fact that both and Binance have the same license approval as OKX.

This is not the first crypto exchange or virtual asset service provider to unilaterally announce they have received a license yet have never been put on VARA’s public register. Examples include, AquanowMaskex crypto exchange, Fasset tokenized assets exchange, and many others.

The question that is puzzling is why? Why put some names and not others, why highlight some companies in VARA press releases, like for example BitOasis,, GCEX, Enjinstarter, Binance, Hextrust, , but not Maskex, OKX and many more?

It might seem to be a small discrepancy, but to those who look at the VARA website as a legitimate source for knowing the status of VASP entities regulated in Dubai, it is a significant slip-up or maybe not!

As an update to this article, OKX has now been listed on VARA’s registry page on its website, still waiting to see Maskex, Aquanow and others 

The UAE virtual asset regulatory authority has published its new virtual asset rulebook for, the virtual assets transfer,  and settlement service.  

This comes after the Central Bank of UAE published its guidelines for AML CFT compliance for financial institutions in relations to VASPs in the UAE.

As published in the rulebook, VASPs providing VA Transfer and Settlement Services must comply with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements issued by the Central Bank of UAE which apply to the VASP, which pertain to the end-to-end enablement of payments, remittances and/or other related services as may be amended from time to time.

As per the transfer and settlement service rulebook document, VASPs providing VA Transfer and Settlement Services must ensure that they comply with all legal and regulatory requirements for such services, inside and outside of the UAE. VASPs must ensure at all times that any transmission or transfer, and/or settlement being undertaken is permissible and can be facilitated through, and concluded in, all jurisdictions that are relevant to that transmission or transfer, and/or settlement.

The VASPs also have to comply with the compliance and risk management rulebook. VASPs providing VA Transfer and Settlement Services must comply with all requirements with respect to AML/CFT contained in that Rulebook, including but not limited to FATF-specific compliance requirements such as the Travel Rule.

The VASPs are liable to clients for the correct transmission, transfer or settlement of virtual assets to recipients whether from VASP wallet or VA wallet. VASPs are also responsible for the functioning of VA wallets or accounts of its clients for the purposes of receiving Virtual Assets, as well as providing all routing information that is necessary for a transmission or transfer, and/or settlement to be completed when requested by the sender’s VASP.

In addition VASPs must maintain records of all client instructions for a period of eight [8] years.

With this Dubai and the UAE have now finalized the major crypto and virtual asset rulesbooks, allowing VASPs to offer  transfers, and settlements for virtual assets. 

Over the past years and despite the continuous banning of crypto in Qatar by the Qatar Central Bank, crypto trading and investing in Qatar is flourishing reflected in various ways. 

The first reflection of the attractiveness of crypto trading in Qatar is the statement made by Qatar’s Ahli bank, at the end of May 2023. The bank warned customers against, trading, buying and selling virtual assets and currencies through accounts and banking services, citing the reasons as being associated with high risks.

Secondly Triple A report in January 2023 put Qatar’s crypto ownership at 0.9 percent of the population, around 24,000 people. Since then it could be the numbers have increased. Just over a year ago CoinMENA had announced that it was serving clients in Qatar. Even Bahrain’s RAIN crypto broker supports Qatar, as does UAE based BitOasis.

But the third and most significant reflection of the growth of crypto in Qatar is the recent MENA FATF report, where they mention that Qatar needs to work more on improving its risk understanding, implementation of TFS ( Targeted Financial Transactions) and NPO (Nonprofit organizations) preventive measures for virtual assets, and virtual asset service providers.

As mentioned in their report, “ Qatar has a very strong level of compliance with the FATF Standards, with only minor improvements needed in relation to risk understanding, implementation of TFS and NPO preventive measures, VAs and VASPs, wire transfers, transparency for legal persons and arrangements and cross-border movements of cash and BNIs.

So while Qatar has embraced blockchaindigital assets, and is studying the possibility of implementing CBDC, while shunning crypto, the population in Qatar seems to be moving forward with the crypto times.

The UAE Central Bank has issued its long awaited virtual assets and virtual assets service provider framework under the umbrella of a new guidance on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) for licensed financial institutions (LFIs) with a focus on the risks of dealing with virtual assets.

The actual document is more telling than the initial press release. In reality the UAE Central Bank has clarified what is considers as virtual assets and who can offer services in this realm, as well as how banks and financial institutions will work with VASPs when it comes to opening accounts for them and meeting compliance requirements. It also makes clear that virtual assets are not considered a legal tender in the UAE.

Now a lot has been made clear. Earlier this month, there was a position for a Fintech virtual assets senior manager job at a UAE Bank who was required to be specialized in Fintech and virtual assets compliance from a finance crime perspective, which was eye catching because there wasn’t anything yet announced from the UAE Central Bank. Yet now one thing is for certain, banks in the UAE will be scrambling to hire talents who understand the virtual asset ecosystem so they will be able to comply with the recent guidance.

Definition of virtual assets and VASPs

First the UAE Central Bank has defined as they mention in alignment with FATF definitions, what virtual assets are, leaving out of the definition CBDCs and security tokens, as well as some NFTs. As per the guidance, “A virtual asset is a digital representation of value that can be digitally traded, or transferred, and can be used for payment or investment purposes, excluding digital representations of fiat currencies, securities, and other funds (such as those separately regulated by the competent authorities of the UAE, including the CBUAE, SCA, VARA, FSRA, and the Dubai Financial Services Authority (“DFSA”).”

It goes on to explain, “Virtual assets, so defined, typically include assets commonly referred to as cryptocurrencies, cryptocoins, payment tokens, exchange tokens, and convertible virtual currencies. Without prejudice to the definitions in the laws and regulations referred to above, stablecoins may be considered either virtual assets or traditional financial assets depending on their exact nature. No asset should be considered a virtual asset and a traditional financial asset (e.g., a security) at the same time.”

The guidance also discusses payment tokens offered and licensed by payment token service providers. Payment Tokens are defined as a type of Crypto-Asset that is backed by one or more Fiat Currency, can be digitally traded, and functions as a medium of exchange and/or a unit of account and/or a store of value, but does not have legal tender status in any jurisdiction. A Payment Token is neither issued nor guaranteed by any jurisdiction and fulfills the above functions only by agreement within the community of users of the Payment Token. Payment Token Service Providers, in turn, are defined as persons engaged in Payment Token issuing, Payment Token buying, Payment Token selling, facilitating the exchange of Payment Tokens, enabling payments to Merchants and/or enabling peer-to-peer payments, and Custodian Services related to Payment Tokens.

What Virtual assets are not

As for NFTs, they are not considered virtual assets, but this does depend on the nature of the NFT and its function. As stated, “Some NFTs that on their face do not appear to constitute VAs may fall under the VA definition if they are used for payment or investment purposes in practice.”

The guidance makes it clear that the Central Bank of the UAE does not accept or acknowledge virtual assets as a legal tender/currency in the UAE; rather, the only legal tender in the UAE is the UAE dirham. As such, those accepting VAs as payment for goods and services or in exchange for other assets bear any risk associated with the future acceptance or recognition of VAs.

The guidance adds,  by definition VAs cannot be digital representations of fiat currencies, securities, or other separately regulated financial assets, a bank record maintained in digital format, for instance, that represents a person’s ownership of fiat currency is not a VA. However, a digital asset that is exchangeable for another asset, such as a stablecoin that is designed to be exchangeable for a fiat currency or a VA at a fixed rate, could still qualify as a VA, depending on the relevant features of such a stablecoin.

VASP activities overview

There are five basic activities that fall under VASPs as per the UAE Central Bank, but these are not considered as comprehensive only meant for illustrative purposes. They include virtual asset exchange, virtual asset brokers, who transfer ownership of VA from one user to another, virtual asset custodians, P2P exchanges, remittance payments, payment for nonfinancial g goods or services, or payment of wages. A provider offering such a service will likely be a VASP.

The UAE Central Bank has even considered decentralized virtual assets Exchanges or decentralized finance (“DeFi”) application creators, owners, and operators as VASPs given they maintain control or sufficient influence in the DeFi arrangements, even if those arrangements seem decentralized, may fall under the definition of a VASP where they are providing or actively facilitating VASP services. For example, there may be control or sufficient influence over assets or over aspects of the service’s protocol, and the existence of an ongoing business relationship between themselves and users; even if this is exercised through a smart contract or in some cases voting protocols.

Even entities that provide related financial services to issuer’s who offer or sell virtual assets through participation in and provision of financial services related to an issuer’s offer or sale of a Virtual asset through activities such as initial coin offerings (“ICOs”) are considered as VASPs.

Licensed Financial Institutions AML CFT

Finally as per the AML-CFT Decision, every natural or legal person who carries out any VASP activities, provides VASP products or services, or carries out VASP operations from the state must be licensed, enrolled, or registered by a competent supervisory authority in the UAE.

LFIs are strictly prohibited from establishing relationships or processing transactions with individuals or entities that perform covered VASP activities and are not licensed to do so by UAE authorities. It is therefore essential that LFIs form an understanding of whether its customers perform covered VASP activities and, if so, whether they have fulfilled applicable UAE licensing requirements. LFIs are not permitted to establish relationships or process transactions with foreign VASPs that have not secured a license to operate as a VASP from UAE authorities, even if the foreign VASP is duly licensed or registered outside the UAE.

The guidance warns that LFIs may be indirectly exposed to VA or VASP activity through its customers that use their account or relationship with the LFI to provide downstream financial services to VASPs. In the case of VASP customers, this may include the provision of accounts or custodial wallets that can be used directly by customers of a third-party VASP to transact business on the customer’s own behalf.

The AML-CFT Law brings virtual assets and virtual asset service providers within the scope of the UAE’s AML/CFT legal, regulatory, and supervisory framework. Under Articles 9 and 15 of the AML-CFT Law, VASPs must report suspicious transactions and information relevant to such transactions to the UAE FIU, and under Articles 13 and 14, supervisory authorities are authorized to assess the risks of VASPs, conduct supervisory operations (including inspections) of VASPs, and impose administrative penalties on VASPs for violations of applicable laws and regulations.


In conclusion this is the first comprehensive framework that the UAE Central Bank has published which will allow a select number of VASPs to be able to deal with the licensed financial institutions in the UAE. It will not be easy for the financial sector as the AML and CFT requirements are exhaustive, but it will also not be easy for the VASPs.

Moreover, there is one gap that seems huge and over looked by the UAE Central Bank, and that is what if licensed financial institutions actually want to offer Virtual asset services. So what if a bank actually wants to offer VA custodial services, or VA payment services, or brokerage services, can they both be the provider and the client and what happens to AML and CFT requirements then.

In Bahrain for example the Central Bank is allowing crypto entities to move into the other financial arenas and has even allowed the first digital bank which deals in digital assets to make their base in the country.

Another question that can be raised, is that in a country which has called for more international cooperation and coordination when it comes to regulating virtual assets, then concurrently does not allow any of its financial institutions to deal with any VASP not regulated in the UAE even if they are regulated in other jurisdictions, what precedence is the UAE making in this regards and is reciprocity the new name of the game?

With regulations taking force in UAE especially when it comes to virtual assets, the country that once boasted of having 1800 blockchain and crypto entities might see that number dwindle as most of these companies will not be able to comply to the regulatory requirements rendering them unable to receive services from the banking sector. 

We can already see this decline in number on the new website for VARA, where there were once dozens of names listed as on the course of receiving licenses, today there is a handful.

Next to be published will definately be the payments rulebook under VARA which was missing before. Can’t wait to see what that will bring to the table.