First in the world to set up a dedicated virtual assets regulator, Dubai has approved the Virtual Assets Law (VAL) and established the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), cementing its leadership in the sector. The law ensures investor protection, economic security and market transparency, backed by fully traceable and non-deletable transaction records.
“Virtual assets are transforming the financial world and are set to be the primary drivers of the future global economy,” says His Excellency Helal Al Marri, Director General of the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority that houses VARA. “Establishing the world’s only independent regulator for virtual assets is symbolic of Dubai’s confidence in the potential of this sector. Our mission is to provide a progressive regulatory framework that can securely enable borderless economic opportunity across the global virtual assets industry.
“Dubai is a global leader in adopting and adapting to new technologies. With VARA, the emirate is well-positioned to lead the global adoption and regulation of digital assets.”
Dubai’s metaverse leadership
Dubai is a pioneer in new-age business sectors including FinTech and eCommerce. The Economist’s Digital Cities Index 2022 ranks Dubai first in the Middle East and 18th globally, and among the Top 10 in digital finance, underscoring the emirate’s lead in blockchain, the engine that powers Web3 and the infrastructure that supports cryptocurrency and digital assets.
Experts envision Web3 as the decentralised and democratised version of Web2, the current iteration of the internet. Many believe it will include ‘crowd-owned’ social media platforms, search engines and marketplaces, replacing the current ‘corporate-owned’ format.
Dubai has swiftly matured into a significant hub for new-age enterprises, including established multinationals, unicorns and start-ups.
The recent launch of the Dubai Metaverse Strategy positions the city as a global pioneer offering the world’s most advanced and connected ecosystem, enabling the metaverse community to thrive in a dynamic environment and consolidates its status as a global capital of advanced technologies. It has attracted several big names in the world of Web3, including cryptocurrency platforms, blockchain and tokenisation companies.
Dubai is already home to more than 1,000 companies in the metaverse and blockchain sector and a large community of innovative start-ups shaping the future of finance. Its ongoing technological advancements and infrastructure investments are set to maintain its status as the world’s Web3 capital and the city is attracting the brightest global talent in the field.
“Dubai is committed to enabling economic freedom in the metaverse and empowering its stakeholders, including individuals, innovators, market makers and virtual assets service providers. VARA wants to establish and enable the safe adoption of industry best practices, encourage knowledge-sharing and drive global interoperability while raising awareness,” said Al Marri.
A hub for finance-focused associations
Dubai’s location as an innovation hub bridging the East and the West helps it offer unrivalled access to the world’s fastest-growing economies. A traditional global financial hub, this pioneering city is also a global leader in technology, and is now taking the lead in an industry that lies at the intersection of finance and technology.
Dubai is home to major industry events such as ETHDubai and Binance Blockchain Week, which saw hundreds of international Web3 entrepreneurs, experts and enthusiasts participate earlier this year.
Held at the spectacular Museum of the Future in September, the Dubai Metaverse Assembly brought together regional and international experts to shape the future of the metaverse and explore its promise and potential applications. More than 300 global experts, policymakers, thought leaders and decision-makers from more than 40 organisations explored how the revolutionary metaverse technology can be deployed across vital sectors to create a better future and quality of life for humanity.