Dubai’s VARA CEO Optimistic After UAE’s Removal from FATF Grey List

Matt White, CEO of Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), welcomes the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) decision to remove the UAE from its grey list, seeing it as a positive step forward for crypto-related investments in the region. The FATF’s move follows the UAE’s successful fulfillment of its action plan to combat money laundering and terrorism financing, signaling significant progress in implementing reforms.

White outlined VARA’s vision to establish baseline Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) and products essential for a thriving crypto ecosystem in Dubai. This includes ensuring the presence of reputable exchanges, brokers, and custodians, equipped with a comprehensive suite of products to serve the crypto market effectively.

VARA aims to collaborate with industry stakeholders on targeted proof of concept or pilot projects, facilitating initiatives such as tokenizing funds by identifying interested VASPs and engaging relevant regulatory bodies to streamline the process.

While Dubai has made strides in creating a conducive environment for crypto companies, White acknowledges that certain aspects of the ecosystem still require optimizationCurrently, VARA has issued 20 licenses to regulated virtual asset service providers, with 11 operational. An additional 80 have received initial approvals, enabling them to commence commercial activities within free zones or access banking services.

The removal of the UAE from the FATF grey list paves the way for increased investment opportunities, supported by a robust regulatory framework outlined by VARA.