Vara approves FTX Exchange to enter Dubai’s MVP programme for virtual assets

The Middle East division of cryptocurrency platform FTX Europe, FTX Exchange, has received approval to enter the minimum viable product (MVP) programme of Dubai for virtual assets, managed by the UAE's Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (Vara).

The Middle East division of cryptocurrency platform FTX Europe, FTX Exchange, has received approval to enter the minimum viable product (MVP) programme of Dubai for virtual assets, managed by the UAE’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (Vara).

The development makes FTX the first virtual asset service provider to get an MVP licence to run its clearing house services, and virtual asset exchange in Dubai, said the San Francisco-based company on Friday, July 29.

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The MVP phase, exclusive to ‘selected and responsible’ international players, will enable the authority to prudently design guidelines and risk mitigation levers for safe commercial operations, said the director general of the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority, Helal Almarri, which houses VARA.

The cryptocurrency regime in Dubai is attaining traction, with Vara giving licences to several global crypto platforms as the emirate persists in integrating virtual assets into its system.

Earlier this month, crypto platforms Huobi and OKX, both based in Seychelles and Singapore’s Fintonia Group, got their provisional licences from Vara.

In March, FTX got a provisional licence to ready itself to trial complex crypto derivatives dedicated to professional, institutional investors in the Emirates.

Earlier in July 2021, the then two-year-old company got $900 million in a funding round, one of the largest for a crypto company, which was valued at around $18 billion.

FTX Exchange will work under a model with rigid regulatory oversight and compulsory compliance with the Financial Action Task Force, the worldwide body founded by the Group of Seven countries to battle money laundering, said Sam Bankman-Fried, chief executive of FTX.

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The move will further enable FTX to tap in more markets in the Middle East and North Africa region, said the head of FTX Europe, Patrick Gruhn.

Vara was launched by Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, in March under the Dubai Virtual Asset Regulation Law, the emirate’s first law regulating virtual assets.

In May, Vara stated that it had entered the metaverse by establishing its Metaverse HQ, making it the first regulator to have a virtual presence in the emerging digital space.

Tariq Saeed

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