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 VARA Grants Conditional VASP Licence to Deribit FZE


VARA Grants Conditional VASP Licence to Deribit FZE

Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) has granted Deribit FZE, the Dubai-based arm of the Deribit group, a conditional virtual asset service provider (VASP) licence for offering Virtual Asset (VA) exchange services.

The licence, which covers both spot and derivatives trading, remains non-operational until Deribit meets all remaining conditions and select localisation requirements defined by VARA.

Deribit has also revealed it was relocating its global headquarters to Dubai and named Luuk Strijers, who joined the firm in 2019 as chief commercial officer, as CEO alongside two non-executive directors (NEDs) – Dennis Dijkstra, former CEO of Flow Traders, and industry veteran Willem Meijer.

The company will collaborate closely with VARA to finalise steps for the official launch of the exchange in Dubai.

Once operational, Deribit will cater to institutional and qualified investors, providing access to its advanced technology. Additionally, it will maintain services for retail clients through its broker affiliate in Panama, affiliated with Deribit FZE in Dubai, until further updates

Big Honour

Describing his new role as a “huge honour” to him, Strijers said that VARA’s progressive regulatory framework opened up vast opportunities in the digital asset realm.

“Our strong position in the crypto options market reflects the trust our clients have in us. I’m thrilled to work with our loyal clientele and drive Deribit’s innovation, as we continue to lead in the evolving crypto marketplace,” Strijers added.

Deribit Co-founder John Jansen said that securing VARA licence marked a monumental chapter in Deribit’s story. Securing the conditional VASP licence from VARA is not just a regulatory milestone; it’s a sign of Deribit’s unwavering commitment to providing a secure, transparent, and innovative platform for our users, he said.

“The appointment of a new CEO and two seasoned NEDs signifies a fusion of fresh insights and extensive experience, fortifying our strategy for long-term growth. As we anchor our operations in Dubai, we are not only extending our reach but also reaffirming our resolve to remain the platform of choice for trading,” Jansen said and added that this was a giant stride towards realising his company’s ambitious vision, and it will invigorate their journey in steering the crypto industry to new horizons.


VARA Licences in 2023

It may be recalled that VARA has focused much of its efforts in 2023 on establishing Dubai as the leading, responsible hub for regulated VA.

The regulator has awarded 19 regulated VASP licences – of which 11 are already operational. A further 72 Initial Approvals have been issued to new entrants to the Dubai market that have already commenced the licensing process.

VARA’s Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Licensing programme is being phased out as it has served the purpose for which it was initiated in a period where the full market regulations had not been formally launched.

Additionally, in view of legacy market operators, VARA has issued 133 Application Acknowledgment Notices, reflecting the proactive and responsive regulatory approach. A total of 116 Proprietary Trading NOCs have been issued, with an additional 37 assessed and ready to be issued while 94 non-VA activity confirmation notices were also issued.

VARA aims to collaborate closely with market participants, including traditional finance and native crypto, while adhering to best practice protocols, including those from FATF. The organisation is focused on furthering Dubai’s position as a global leader in the new economy, supported by a regulated virtual assets ecosystem, with the aim of contributing significantly to the GDP in 2024.

Global Business Magazine

Global Business Magazine

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