Dubai DET signs MoU with VARA to boost Virtual Assets sector

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Official Reporter
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Dubai Economic Leadership Program
Rep. Image | Onno Kalverda @ Pixabay

Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) for the provision of unified city-wide services to enable the Virtual Assets sector.

In line with Dubai’s Economic Agenda D33, this partnership is a foundational anchor to aid strategic government initiatives that affirm Dubai’s resolute dedication to pro-business strategies, stakeholder-friendly asset navigation, and robust regulation.

According to the statement, “The MoU outlines a framework for collaboration to deliver effective and synchronized 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.”

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.

Under the MoU, VASPs will benefit from seamless workflow processes between both parties with DET adding VARA activities to its system for virtual assets license 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.

“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,” as per the statement.

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