Dubai VARA grants ‘initial approval’ to crypto firm WadzPay

The license allows WadzPay to begin preparing to provide virtual asset services and activities under the VASP License for Transfer and Settlement and Broker/Dealer activities.

The Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) has issued an “Initial Approval” license to the crypto firm WadzPay, marking a pivotal step in the company’s journey toward obtaining a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) license for virtual asset services and activities.

According to the announcement, Wadzpay’s VARA license allows it to commence preparations to provide virtual asset services and activities under the VASP License for Transfer and Settlement and Broker/Dealer activities. The VARA license does not allow the company to offer any other of its virtual asset products and services. The company’s platform offers services catering to businesses (B2B) and individual users (B2B2C).

Dubai’s regulator has issued operational licenses of various stages to crypto exchanges and firms over the past few months, strengthening its position as a crypto-friendly jurisdiction with its regulatory body and comprehensive rulebooks for Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs). Attaining a VARA license in Dubai is a three-step process requiring crypto exchanges to qualify for provisional approval, a minimal viable product (MVP) license and a total market product license.

The cryptocurrency wallet Backpack was granted a Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) license at the end of October, leading to the debut of Backpack Exchange. Backpack’s VARA license restricts its operations to crypto exchange services within Dubai, excluding its other virtual asset offerings. The newly unveiled Backpack Exchange incorporates zero-knowledge (ZK) proof-of-reserves, multi-party computation (MPC) for custody, and high-speed order execution.

Komainu, a joint venture between Nomura and crypto firms CoinShares and Ledger, also received a full operating license from Dubai’s VARA. Komainu completed the final step in VARA’s licensing process nearly 10 months after securing its MVP license in November 2022.

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Laser Digital, the cryptocurrency division of financial giant Nomura, secured an operating license from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) in August. This move is part of Nomura’s efforts to establish a presence in the digital asset sector. Through its subsidiary, Laser Digital Middle East FZE, based in Dubai, the company unveiled its Virtual Asset Service Provider (VASP) license, permitting it to provide brokerage, virtual asset management, and investment services in the emirate.

Laser Digital’s new license comes from Binance obtaining an operational minimum viable product (MVP) from VARA to operate cryptocurrency exchange and virtual asset broker-dealer services locally.

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