Dubai regulator plans rules for crypto assets

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is reportedly preparing a regulatory framework for the trading of digital assets and cryptocurrencies.

The proposed rules will be put to market participants for their feedback with a view to implementation in 2022.

In its recently published business plan for 2021/2022, the DFSA included the intention to create a regulatory regime for digital assets such as tokenised securities and cryptocurrencies.

“The DFSA is committed to remain ‘open for business’ with respect to innovation in the financial services sector and we continue to explore how our regulatory regime can accommodate new and innovative business models,” stated the plan.

According to the DFSA’s head of strategy, policy and risk, Peter Smith, the regulator plans to publish two papers before June 2021.

Smith said the framework will cover “a wide range of digital assets” as well as “the relevant service providers”, in comments reported by Abu Dhabi news agency, The National. He also said the regulation of these markets will be done “in a proportionate and thoughtful manner, drawing on best practices across the globe”.

It is not the first time that Mena regulators have talked of their plans for regulating crypto assets, not least in the UAE. Back in October 2019, the UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority issued a call for feedback on crypto asset rules. Meanwhile Abu Dhabi’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority issued guidance on the regulation of crypto asset activity in October 2018.

The latest proposals come at a time when the price of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is at an all-time high.

A workable regulatory framework is seen as key to encouraging greater participation from institutional investors and asset managers as well as attracting the various service providers needed to complete a digital assets market, such as exchanges and custodians.

A number of international digital asset exchanges are looking to move into the Mena market, including UK regulated operator GMEX which appointed a Mena director in October.

©2021 funds global mena

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