Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) Announces Leadership Changes

Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) has announced a reshuffling of its leadership in a move designed to inject fresh perspectives into the operations of the market regulator.

Change in CEO

In line with a statement, VARA’s current CEO, Henson Orser, will be stepping down after nearly a year on the job and will be replaced by Mathew White, a finance professional with extensive experience at professional services firm PwC.

While VARA did not give a clear-cut reason for Orser’s departure, specific sources cite personal reasons and a need to “ramp up to full-scale market operations.”

VARA disclosed that Orser will still maintain ties with the regulator in a consultative capacity, given the successes recorded in his tenure.

Achievements Under Orser

Under Orser’s tenure as VARA CEO, the regulator recorded several milestones in the quest to ensure a vibrant digital currency ecosystem. With Orser at the helm of affairs, VARA issued a string of operational licenses to several regional virtual asset service providers (VASPs) and rolled out complete market regulations for industry players. In addition, VARA released a schedule of fees for digital currency-related activity and gave the green light for asset staking by digital asset exchanges.

New Leadership

White, the new incoming CEO, is expected to build upon the achievements of Orser, leveraging his extensive experience in traditional finance.

Toughening Stance for Digital Assets in the UAE

Financial regulators in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are scrambling to roll out robust regulations for VASPs operating in the country, following VARA’s lead.

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In early November, the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE) published joint guidance with other regulators, warning unregistered VASPs against operating in the country.

On its part, VARA has taken enforcement actions against erring VASPs in the region, slamming huge fines on OPNX and revoking BitOasis’ license for flouting its rules.

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By Team