BitOasis, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges catering to customers in the Middle East, is currently facing enforcement action from the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) in Dubai. On July 10, VARA issued a market alert revealing that it had initiated the action against BitOasis due to the exchange’s failure to meet mandated conditions within the specified timeframes required for VARA-regulated market activity.
Earlier this year, BitOasis had received the distinction of being awarded the first “minimum viable product operational license” in Dubai. However, the recent review by the regulator raises the possibility of the license being rescinded.
VARA stated that it is exercising its authority to supervise and monitor compliance, and potential enforcement actions could involve holding BitOasis’ license status as non-operational. The license granted to BitOasis permits the exchange to provide broker-dealer services for cryptocurrencies to qualified retail and institutional investors from its headquarters in Dubai.
BitOasis operates in 14 countries across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and boasts a trading volume of over $3 billion, as stated on its website. However, last year, the exchange had to reduce its workforce by 5%, citing recessionary conditions and market turmoil.
Dubai Regulator VARA Continues Crackdown on Crypto Industry
Dubai’s regulatory authority, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (VARA), has once again taken action against individuals and companies operating in the cryptocurrency space. The recent reprimands and warnings issued by VARA are part of its ongoing efforts to ensure compliance and protect investors in the rapidly growing crypto industry.
In April, VARA reprimanded Kyle Davies and Su Zhu, the co-founders of Three Arrows Capital, a crypto hedge fund that eventually filed for bankruptcy. The reprimand served as a reminder that even established players in the industry are not exempt from regulatory scrutiny.
The regulator continued its enforcement actions in May, targeting the founders and CEO of OPNX, a crypto company involved in unregulated activities. Mark Lamb and Sudhu Arumugam, along with OPNX’s Chief Executive Officer Leslie Lamb, faced reprimands for their non-compliant practices.
In a recent development, Dubai-based crypto exchange Bybit managed to secure a minimum viable product preparatory license from VARA. This license allows Bybit to operate with certain limitations as it prepares to meet the regulatory requirements set forth by VARA. The exchange, like many others in the crypto space, has faced challenges during the bear market, leading to staff reductions.
The actions taken by VARA reflect the regulatory authority’s commitment to maintaining a safe and transparent environment for crypto investors in Dubai. The warnings and reprimands serve as a reminder to industry participants that compliance with regulatory guidelines is essential to foster trust and protect market participants.