UAE Says No Virtual Asset Service Provider Has Been Granted an Operating Permit

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The United Arab Emirates virtual assets regulator has said no crypto entity has been granted the full market product (FMP) license. According to the country’s minister of state for artificial intelligence and the digital economy, Omar Sultan Al Olama, no crypto entity has been “able to onboard any customers even last week.”

VARA Has Yet to Grant a Full Market Product License

The United Arab Emirates’ virtual assets regulator, the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), has not issued any operating license to date, the country’s digital economy minister Omar Sultan Al Olama has said. Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF), Al Olama reportedly said that no crypto exchange entity including Binance and FTX has been granted the full market product (FMP) license.

As per Al Olama’s remarks published on Laraontheblock, no crypto is yet to complete the VARA’s four-step process. Accordingly, this means “no one was able to onboard any customers even last week.”

In March 2022, the VARA said it had granted Binance a minimal viable product (MVP) license which allowed it to offer an approved range of virtual asset-related services to suitably qualified retail and institutional investors in Dubai. Similar licenses have also been issued to other crypto exchange platforms. Some crypto exchanges have seemingly used these licenses when touting their credentials to potential clients.

However, the VARA has now clarified that the licenses issued to Binance and other crypto exchange platforms are only “Provisional” at stage one, or “MVP-Preparatory” at stage two.

VASPs Not Allowed to Offer Services to Mass Retail Consumers

According to VARA, these licenses are only issued to allow virtual assets service providers (VASPs) to fulfill pre-conditions and begin readiness. The regulator also reiterated Al Olama’s position that no crypto entity has been given the full license.

“No VARA licensee has, to date, been awarded an MVP-Operating permit, to provide regulated services or activities to their specifically authorised market segment(s) in the Emirate. Any information or representation to the contrary is inaccurate and misleading,” the regulator clarified in a market notification on its website.

Echoing Al Olama’s message at the WEF, the regulator said the MVP licensees are not allowed to offer their services to mass retail consumers “until the stage gate (4) FMP licence approval has been secured.”

What are your thoughts on this story? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Terence Zimwara

Terence Zimwara is a Zimbabwe award-winning journalist, author and writer. He has written extensively about the economic troubles of some African countries as well as how digital currencies can provide Africans with an escape route.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

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