Dubai crypto regulator suspends BitOasis crypto exchange license

Dubai crypto regulator suspends BitOasis crypto exchange license

BitOasis was the first crypto exchange to get an operating license in Dubai, which the local regulator has now suspended for not meeting key conditions in time.


Update (11 July 2023, 9:00 UTC): This article has been updated to include BitOasis’s response to the regulatory issue.

Dubai’s cryptocurrency regulator has suspended the license of crypto exchange BitOasis for not meeting mandated conditions within the timeframes set out by the authority.

On July 10, the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) issued two alerts saying it had undertaken enforcement action against BitOasis and is reviewing the Dubai-based firm.

VARA said BitOasis’ conditional license, granted April 12, permitted it to operate provided the firm met “key conditions over 30-60 day timeframes,” which the regulator said hadn’t been met.

VARA did not detail what conditions BitOasis failed to meet, but until it can fulfill the conditions, the firm’s “Licence for Institutional and Qualified Retail Investors remains ‘non-operational,’” according to the regulator.

BitOasis received the first of the city’s “minimum viable product operational licenses” from VARA, allowing it to provide broker-dealer services to Dubai’s qualified institutional and retail investors, according to a May blog post.

The license is the last of a multistep process before a full market product (FMP) license is issued. Currently, VARA has not issued an FMP license to any firm.

BitOasis will have to meet the conditions set out in its current license in order to apply for the FMP license, VARA explained.

Related: UAE emerges as a pro-Bitcoin mining destination in the Middle East

VARA’s latest action comes after its April reprimand of Su Zhu and Kyle Davies — the co-founders of the collapsed crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital.

The pair landed on VARA’s radar for operating and promoting their new OPNX crypto exchange in Dubai without the required license.

For BitOasis, VARA said it would “continue to monitor the situation for regulatory compliance remediation.”

BitOasis in a blog post on 11th July addressed the regulatory concerns around the Operational MVP License with respect to serving Institutional and qualified retail investors and said they are working closely with VARA on “fulfilling the remaining conditions.”

The crypto exchange also clarified that the ongoing issue with its Operational MVP license does not impact the other services such as broker-dealer services for existing retail users.

Cointelegraph contacted BitOasis and VARA for comment but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

Additional reporting by Prashant Jha

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