The Middle Eastern nation of Abu Dhabi has established a government body to develop a strategy for regulating and promoting digital assets. Abu Dhabi has become one of the known crypto hubs approving the license of several branches of digital asset firms.
In late August, the Abu Dhabi Blockchain and Virtual Assets Committee (ADBVAC) held its inaugural meeting, chaired by Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, the chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and chairman of the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA). The Committee is set to oversee crypto regulation and promote the digital asset industry within its jurisdiction. As part of the discussion, the newly established committee seeks to introduce a regulatory framework to build a safe, sound, and transparent ecosystem for virtual assets. Additionally, it seeks to ensure that all crypto firms in its jurisdiction comply with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing rules.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was placed on a watchlist of money laundering concerns by the Financial Action Task Force. Shorafa said that he believes the Committee will help offset all the known expected risks and noted:
The committee is bringing together all the relevant stakeholders to build a robust, credible, and comprehensive regulatory and business ecosystem that addresses key risks and major governance issues, such as AML/CFT, investor protection, tech governance, and custody risk, to promote blockchain and virtual assets.
The ADBVAC is charged with making the country more competitive in the blockchain and virtual assets space, supporting the exchange of information, and establishing best practices for participants. The UAE also established the Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) joining countries such as the U.S., the United Kingdom, and Singapore to introduce cryptocurrency laws. VARA was established in collaboration with the UAE Central Bank and Securities Commodities Authority, to take control of services related to digital currencies. The services include providing licenses and enforcing regulations of firms operating in the virtual asset industry. It is also mandated to oversee:
The development of strategic plans and policies surrounding virtual asset activities, the regulation and supervision of the issue and offering of virtual assets and tokens, and the prescribing of regulations to virtual assets.
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