On Aug. 16, the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) escalated its actions against Open Technology Markets Ltd. (OPNX), a crypto exchange.
This follows previous notices in April 2023 concerning the exchange’s conduct. The regulator also fined the exchange and its executives.
On May 2, OPNX was fined $2.7 million for flouting Dubai’s Virtual Assets and Related Activities regulations revolving around marketing and promotion. The exchange is yet to pay the penalty.
VARA is intervening in response to alleged bankruptcy claims.
All penalties are reviewed by the regulator’s Grievance Committee, in compliance with the law. The Committee’s endorsement of enforcement actions against OPNX justifies the fines levied.
Since OPNX is yet to pay, VARA is actively considering additional steps to ensure compliance. These may include more fines, penalties, and even engaging with law enforcement or legal avenues, if necessary.
Several exchanges, including Kraken, Binance, and Bybit, have opened offices in Dubai in recent years. This trend will likely continue as Dubai cements its position as a leading technology hub.
In May 2023, VARA warned Bybit, notifying the crypto exchange that it must comply with UAE’s law if a license is issued.
In March, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) issued a statement calling for greater collaboration among regulators in the fight against crypto scams.