DIFC proposes new digital assets rules

Dubai’s financial regulator is set to introduce new rules for governing digital assets in a bid to establish the emirate as the crypto hub for the Mena region.

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has announced a consultation on a new digital assets law that it states will keep pace with technology and trade developments and also provide legal certainty for investors in digital assets.

According to Jacques Visser, chief legal officer at DIFC, the amended rules will “set out the legal characteristics of a digital asset, its proprietary nature, how it may be controlled, transferred, and dealt with by interested parties”.

The DIFC has taken the UNICTRAL Model on Secured Transactions as its regulatory template. It is also proposing to amend existing, “cornerstone” DIFC laws regarding contracts, insolvencies, trusts and foundations to cater for the requirements of digital assets.

The proposed legislative changes contained in Consultation Papers No. 4 and No. 5 of 2023 have been posted for an extended 40-day public consultation period.

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