On August 16, VARA, the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority in Dubai, UAE, intensified its measures against the cryptocurrency exchange, Open Technology Markets Ltd. (OPNX). This comes after prior alerts from April 2023 about the exchange’s behavior. Furthermore, the authority imposed fines on both the exchange and its leaders.
On May 2, the exchange faced a penalty of $2.7 million for neglecting Dubai’s regulations on virtual assets, especially concerning marketing and advertisement. However, OPNX has not cleared this fine. VARA’s involvement arises from claims hinting at a potential bankruptcy.
The Grievance Committee of the regulator reviews all such fines, ensuring that they abide by the law. Their support for the actions taken against OPNX reinforces the legitimacy of the fines.
Since the fine remains unpaid, VARA is contemplating further measures to guarantee compliance. These could encompass increased fines, further penalties, and, if required, collaboration with law enforcement or legal pathways.
Recently, several crypto exchanges, such as Kraken, Binance, and Bybit, have set up branches in Dubai, a pattern that seems set to persist given Dubai’s growing stature as a tech nucleus.
In May 2023, Bybit received a warning from VARA, informing the platform that adherence to UAE laws would be mandatory upon granting of a license.
In March, a call for heightened cooperation in combating cryptocurrency frauds was made by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).