Sunset near Burj Dubai from the roof in city

Dubai VARA releases schedule of fees for digital asset-related activities

The Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) has made public a schedule of fees to govern the grant of no-objection certificates for proprietary traders and the review of digital currency white papers.

The regulatory watchdog unveiled the fee scheme on its official website on June 22 as part of its efforts to provide crystal-clear regulations for virtual asset service providers in Dubai. Proprietary traders of digital currencies looking to operate in Dubai will be required to possess a no-objection certificate (NOC).

Before granting a NOC, VARA will evaluate the trading activities of the applying firm to ensure it meets the minimum requirements. If successful, proprietary trading firms will be required to pay an annual fee of AED 1,000 ($272), with VARA making no distinction between the sizes of applying firms.

The schedule of fees also provides that licensed firms keen on winding up their operations will be required to pay a withdrawal fee of AED 10,000 ($2,722), while those seeking to update their license details will pay AED 500 ($136).

VARA’s fee schedule makes provision for issuers of digital currencies looking to submit their white papers for review. Right out of the gate, issuers are expected to pay a submission fee of AED 5000 ($1,361) and another AED 50,000 ($13,612) for a detailed review by the regulatory agency. The schedule also provides additional charges for the review of legal opinions regarding proposed digital asset products of up to AED 4,000 ($1,089).

“Where legal opinions or memorandums are submitted to VARA for review and consideration of the regulatory perimeter applicable to a firm’s virtual asset activity, a legal review fee of up to AED 4,000 may be charged for a written confirmation to be provided by VARA,” the announcement read.

Since its establishment in 2022, VARA has issued several guidelines to regulate the digital currency industry, including rules on marketing and promotion of services. In February, the regulator rolled out guidelines for the operations of digital asset service providers and a separate rule book on brokerages and custody services.

Setting up Dubai to become a global player in digital assets

VARA’s positive stance toward digital currencies has earned applauses across the ecosystem, with a cross-section noting that the region is well on its path to being the global hub for Web3.

Since VARA’s launch, several global players like Binance and have clinched licenses to operate in the country, setting that pace for other exchanges. Digital currency exchange Bybit moved its headquarters to Dubai, citing the city’s grand plans to be a leading destination for industry players.

Despite the pace of development, Dubai faces stiff competition for the top spot from Hong Kong following a string of initiatives from the Southeast Asian region.

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