Dubai Virtual Assets Regulator Launches Sandbox-Based Metaverse Siege

Dubai is striving to become friendlier to the digital asset and blockchain industry. In a further effort to achieve this, the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) in Dubai has launched a virtual headquarters in the metaverse.

VARA said in a Press release that it is launching VARA MetaHQ, a sandboxed virtual desktop, a 3D virtual open world based on blockchain. The virtual office will allow the regulator to have first-hand experience of the industry it was created to regulate.

With the launch, VARA also became the first Regulator to have a virtual headquarters in the Metaverse. During the inauguration, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, said VARA’s MetaHQ places Dubai among blockchain innovators.

“Dubai maintains a leadership position at the forefront of technological transformation. We have moved beyond being an early adopter to become an innovator and a participant in shaping the future of this technology,” he said.

He added that Dubai is creating “a prototype decentralized regulator model” that can be emulated by other regulators to ensure that “the dynamic virtual asset industry builds economic resilience, accelerates social inclusion and addresses environmental sustainability”.

For his part, Helal Saeed Almarri, chief executive of the Dubai World Trade Center Authority, said the move underscores Dubai’s belief that virtual assets are the “engine of the future global economy”.

Dubai’s other progress in digital currency regulation

The launch of the metaverse is very commendable for the very young regulator of digital assets. VARA was created in March to oversee the regulation of digital assets. At the time, Dubai also introduced legislation to direct the regulation of the industry.

The government of Dubai has often expressed its intention to become a global hub for digital currencies. This ambition mirrors the desire of its other sister emirates that form the United Arab Emirates, who want 50% of all government services to be on-chain.

Dubai’s efforts to clarify the regulation of digital currencies have paid off. Over the past few months, it has successfully obtained licenses for several digital currency companies represented around the world.

However, embracing digital currencies has not come without a price. According to CNBC, while the emirate is attracting a massive influx of talent, entrepreneurs and investment, it is also increasingly under scrutiny from its international partners. Recently, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) placed the UAE on its “grey list” of countries requiring additional monitoring.

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Dubai Virtual Assets Regulator Launches Sandbox-Based Metaverse Siege

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