UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Dubai sets regulations and fee scales for virtual-asset businesses

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The Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) has issued its much-anticipated Virtual Assets and Related Activities Regulations 2023. The regulations cover virtual asset service providers (VASPs), which VARA will regulate, supervise and oversee. The new regulations prohibit anyone from carrying out virtual asset activities (such as advisory, broker-dealer and custody services) by way of business without express authorisation from VARA, or without exempt status. Licensed VASPs will be bound not only by the regulations but also by VARA’s rulebooks and directives. VARA's penalties for violation of the rules include AED 20m ($5.4m) for individuals, AED 50m or 15% of annual revenue for VASPs, or 300% of profits gained or losses avoided if greater.

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