Dubai issues crypto marketing rules to better protect investors

Dubai issues crypto marketing rules to better protect investors
Local officials are imposing more marketing and promotion regulations for the industry as Dubai moves forward with a new licence scheme for cryptocurrency service providers.

The city's specialised cryptocurrency regulator, Dubai's Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA), purportedly unveiled new rules on Aug. 25 regarding the marketing, promotion, and advertising of virtual assets.

According to the local news source Gulf News, the VARA made reference to all forms of outreach, communications, and advertising, information dissemination, awareness-raising, customer engagement, investment solicitation, and others.

The guidelines cover all virtual asset-related communications and entities publishing information on Dubai-based media websites, search platforms as well as online and offline publishing channels that target customers within the Dubai market.

The rules reportedly also require all local virtual asset service providers (VASP), including advertising platforms, to ensure factual accuracy and openly demonstrate any promotional intent to avoid misleading potential customers.

The VARA reportedly noted that the new guidelines relate to Dubai’s crypto-focused Minimal Viable Product (MVP) license, stating: “These regulations specifically address marketing and communications activities, ahead of operationalizing the MVP licensees so that any mass-market information dissemination, and consumer solicitation are designed to safeguard community interests.”

As previously reported, Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX crypto exchange was one of the first companies to receive VARA’s MVP license through its local subsidiary FZE in July 2022. The license enabled FZE to operate a VASP in the region fully.

VARA’s guidelines came along with Abu Dhabi’s new plans to launch a strategy for blockchain and virtual assets that aligns with the country’s overall economic strategy. On Aug. 25, the Abu Dhabi Blockchain and Virtual Assets Committee held its first meeting to discuss the strategy.

Established in March 2022, Dubai’s VARA is responsible for licensing and regulating all VASPs in the Emirate’s special development and free zones with the exception of the Dubai International Financial Centre. The regulator is known for its ambitious industry regulation plans, purchasing land in the virtual reality world The Sandbox in May.