News Roundup — Dubai’s chief crypto regulator exits as VARA prepares to fine major companies

November 20, 2023

Major news stories this week;

  1. Dubai’s chief crypto regulator exits as VARA prepares to fine major companies
  2. Deutsche-backed Taurus targets tokenized real estate market with Dubai office
  3. SEC Needs More Time on Grayscale Ethereum Futures ETF
  4. Poloniex crypto exchange resumes withdrawals after $100M hack
  5. Crypto.com Moves Closer to an Operational License in Dubai

Story Summaries;

  1. The leader of the United Arab Emirate’s primary cryptocurrency oversight body, Henson Orser, is set to resign. This departure comes as the authority gears up to enforce strict penalties on several digital asset companies that haven’t complied with local regulations. Since his appointment in January as the CEO of the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), Orser has been at the forefront of the regulatory operations. His tenure, however, will conclude shortly, paving the way for Matthew White to assume the role. White, currently a partner at PwC and a consultant to VARA, will transition into the leadership position over the next few months, as per VARA’s announcement. Under Orser’s leadership, VARA witnessed the integration of new regulatory frameworks tailored for cryptocurrencies, a significant move, especially after the FTX collapse last year. These regulations came into effect in early 2023, marking a new chapter in Dubai’s approach to virtual asset management.
  2. The digital asset infrastructure provider plans to establish a presence in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the region’s housing sector as tokenization gains global steam. Taurus, a Swiss-based crypto company, announced a new office in the UAE geared towards tapping a growing narrative around tokenized real-world assets (RWAs) and an expected boom within Dubai’s real estate market. Besides its reputation as a global investment hotspot, experts expect a 15% growth in Dubai’s housing industry during 2024, said Taurus managing director Bashir Kazour. Kazour stressed that Dubai’s inflow of foreign investment and its clear crypto regulations mean that the region is a prime location for tokenization to take root. Taurus opening an office in the UAE signals the firm’s strategic positioning to leverage emerging digital asset trends, the director added in an email seen by crypto.news.
  3. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has delayed a decision on the Grayscale Ethereum futures exchange-traded fund (ETF). Grayscale Investments filed to the Wall Street regulator back in September. The fund would allow investors to buy shares that bet on the future price of Ethereum (ETH), the second-biggest digital asset by market cap. But the SEC said today that it would delay the decision. The SEC regularly extends the period it has to give decisions on crypto products. "The Commission finds it appropriate to designate a longer period within which to take action on the proposed rule change so that it has sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change and the issues raised therein," the SEC wrote in its filing.
  4. Justin Sun’s cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex is preparing to resume operations after suffering a major hack in November, according to an official company announcement posted on Nov. 15. In the statement, the company said that the platform has “mostly completed” the restoration efforts after the $100 million hack. “The platform is now operating smoothly,” Poloniex said in its most recent update on the resumption of deposit and withdrawal services. The exchange has enlisted a “top-tier security auditing firm” to enhance the security of funds on Poloniex and is preparing to resume withdrawals soon, the firm said, adding: “Currently, they are in the final stages of the security audit and verification processes for Poloniex. Upon completion of the audit, we will promptly resume deposit and withdrawal services on our platform." The firm added that the “evaluation process” is still ongoing and is estimated to take several more days.
  5. Singapore-based crypto platform Crypto.com has received its minimal viable product (MVP) preparatory license from Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), the firm announced on Monday. Obtaining license involves three stages, including getting a provisional permit, a preparatory license and an operating license. Crypto.com is in the second stage of the process. "Once licensed to be operational, Crypto.com will be able to extend its approved suite of duly regulated virtual assets activities spanning a range of crypto exchange services (spot and derivatives), brokerage, margin/leverage trading and OTC (over-the-counter) offerings around settlements for institutional investors," the announcement said.

And that’s all for last week’s news! Wishing you a great week ahead!

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