Dubai’s VARA becomes first Government Authority Debut in Metaverse


Key Takeaways:

  • The new development is part of Dubai’s strategy to create a prototype decentralized regulator model inviting international thought leaders, governance custodians and industry shapers 
  • Vara’s MetaHQ will be utilizing The Sandbox platform, the Ethereum blockchain-based app backed by SoftBank, to sell, create and purchase digital assets.
  • VARA MetaHQ will be serving as a primary channel to engage VASPs worldwide
  • The move is expected to facilitate a borderless new market enabling sustainable economic freedom

Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) made headlines as it announced its foray into the Metaverse with the establishment of the Metaverse Headquarters(HQ) in the dynamic virtual world named ‘The Sandbox.’ VARA with this development as the world’s first regulator to make its Metaverse debut aims to ensure that the regulator is not only accessible to its industry in their environment but also facilitates and enables collaborative engagement between global Virtual Asset Service Providers/ VASPs, International Regulatory Authorities and Industry Thought-leaders.

Vara’s MetaHQ will be utilising The Sandbox platform, the Ethereum blockchain-based application backed by Japanese investment conglomerate SoftBank that allows users to sell, purchase and create digital assets. The Dubai Regulator further expects to regulate the governing principles of the services and activities rather than the continually-evolving products and underlying technologies. The move touted as bold indicates Dubai Government’s confidence in Virtual Assets being an indispensable part in the future of digital economy and its readiness to establish Dubai as the world’s Virtual Assets Capital.

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Executive Council and Crown Prince of Dubai, while inaugurating the VARA MetaHQ on the Sandbox, said, “Dubai maintains a leading position at the forefront of technological transformation. We have exceeded the role of an early adopter to become an innovator and participant in shaping the future of this technology. VARA now joins the Metaverse to become Dubai’s – and the Metaverse’s – first Govt authority, ushering in a new era in which the Dubai Government utilizes modern innovations to extend its services and regulatory power to audiences in an open technological expanse without constraints or borders.”

He further added that VARA represents a serious effort to build a powerful, new economic sector that creates new investment opportunities and contributes to the nation’s economy.

He noted that by expanding VARA’s resources to a borderless audience through the Metaverse, Dubai is now creating a prototype Decentralised Regulator Model, inviting international thought leaders – governance custodians, industry shapers and global authorities – to participate, exchange knowledge, and problem-solve collectively. Sheikh Hamdhan believes that with this recent development, they can enable the dynamic virtual assets industry to accelerate social inclusion, build economic resilience,and also address environmental sustainability.

VARA, with this new foray into Metaverse, is now joining a slew of private sector game-changers, innovators, and market makers across Lifestyle, ICT, Financial and Professional services, Entertainment, FMCG who are deeply committed to enabling economic freedom in the Metaverse. VARA MetaHQ will be serving as its primary channel to engage VASPs around the world to initiate applications, enable younger licensees to enter the Metaverse, and openly share knowledge and experiences with consumers and peer regulators to enable safe adoption, raise awareness,and drive global interoperability.

Helal Saeed Almarri, who holds the post of Director-General, Dubai World Trade Centre Authority, commenting on the development, said, “Dubai views the virtual asset sector as the driver of the future global economy. VARA has been established at a pivotal moment in response to expanding the Emirate’s incredibly sophisticated and modern legal framework regulating virtual asset activities. As the first niche regulator for the Virtual Assets sector globally, VARA’s Metaverse HQ also makes the United Arab Emirates the first jurisdiction to enter this platform, reflecting our leadership’s aspiration to facilitate a borderless new market enabling sustainable economic freedom.”

Vara was established by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, on March 9 under the Dubai Virtual Asset Regulation Law, the first law in the UAE that regulates virtual assets. UAE has been witnessing the growth of metaverse activity for quite some time. In March’s World Government Summit, Dubai Municipality noted it will soon create a digital twin city of the emirate in a virtual world named ‘One Human Reality’. Sharjah, another Emirate, also expressed its interest in the virtual asset sector by holding its first non-fungible token art exhibition at House of Wisdom in March.

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