VARA’s CEO Proposes Innovative Approach to Ease Regulatory Burdens for Small Crypto Businesses

Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) is spearheading efforts to revolutionize crypto regulation, with CEO Matthew White unveiling a groundbreaking strategy aimed at empowering small firms while fostering innovation. White’s visionary approach, revealed at the Paris Blockchain Week, seeks to address the challenges faced by smaller players in Dubai’s burgeoning crypto landscape.

Acknowledging the imperfections in current crypto regulations, White emphasized the need for improvements, particularly to support smaller entities grappling with hefty compliance costs. In a regulatory panel discussion, he underscored VARA’s commitment to exploring solutions that make the regulatory regime more accessible to all participants.

One of the key proposals put forth by White involves a cost-sharing model, wherein larger players in the crypto ecosystem would assist smaller entities by bearing a portion of their compliance expenses. This innovative concept aims to level the playing field, enabling smaller businesses to navigate regulatory requirements without being burdened by prohibitive costs.

“The cost of compliance is borne by the larger systemic players, and this allows the smaller players to come into the ecosystem, be regulated, but also not have to suffer the same sort of level of costs of compliance that we’ve got,” explained White.

The proposed measures reflect VARA’s commitment to fostering collaboration within the crypto industry while ensuring regulatory compliance. By leveraging the resources of larger market participants, smaller entities can overcome barriers to entry and contribute to the growth of Dubai’s crypto ecosystem.

White’s leadership at VARA, following his appointment last year, coincides with the authority’s efforts to ramp up market operations amid tightened regulations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In November 2023, UAE regulators issued joint guidance outlining fines and sanctions for unlicensed virtual asset service providers, signaling a stricter regulatory environment for the crypto industry in the region.

As Dubai continues to position itself as a leading hub for fintech innovation, VARA’s progressive approach to regulation underscores the importance of adaptability and inclusivity in shaping the future of the crypto landscape. Through ongoing dialogue with industry stakeholders, VARA aims to refine regulatory frameworks that support innovation while maintaining integrity and compliance.