Dubai’s cryptocurrency regulator establishes metaverse headquarters

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Dubai’s new cryptocurrency regulator has established a virtual headquarters in The Sandbox metaverse platform, the company’s cofounder told Al Arabiya English on Tuesday.

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The emirate’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) claims that it is the first regulator in the world to establish its headquarters in the metaverse.

“We are thrilled to witness the progressive mission of Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) and the UAE, establishing itself at the forefront of innovation to enable the current global movement by being the first regulator in the open metaverse,” Sebastien Borget, COO and cofounder of The Sandbox told Al Arabiya English.

VARA was established by Dubai in March in order to oversee cryptocurrency trading and the exchange of other virtual assets including non fungible tokens (NFTs).

One of its first moves was to grant cryptocurrency exchange Binance a Virtual Asset License.

Binance had previously been granted permission to operate in Bahrain, and was later granted in-principle approval by the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

The Sandbox is a platform linked to the Ethereum blockchain in which people can buy and sell plots of land, play games, and earn virtual currency.

An alpha version of The Sandbox went live in November of 2021, and around 16,000 people bought virtual plots of land on its release.

The platform has a host of name-brand backers including sportswear company Adidas, gaming giant Atari, and rapper Snoop Dogg.

It was funded in part by the SoftBank Vision Fund, which was co-created by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF).

“Today, VARA joins the metaverse to become Dubai’s -- and the metaverse’s -- first government authority, ushering in a new era in which Dubai Government utilizes modern innovations to extend its services,” Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, said in a statement carried by the official WAM news agency.

Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General of Dubai World Trade Centre Authority, added: “VARA’s acquiring land in the Sandbox is symbolic of our belief in this sector, and the onus is on us as government to be the bridge that allows investors and consumers to safely adopt, and collaboratively scale the economy.”

Read more:

UAE’s new Virtual Assets Law: How does it work, what will it mean for businesses?

Around 16,000 people buy virtual plots of land in Sandbox metaverse: Co-founder

Dubai’s new virtual asset regulator brings UAE crypto firm BitOasis under its wing

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