Dubai’s virtual assets regulator suspends critical license for crypto exchange BitOasis citing regulatory non-compliance

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2 min readJul 11, 2023

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Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) issued a market alert on July 10 concerning the local crypto exchange BitOasis.

The notice indicates that BitOasis’ conditional MVP Licence has been suspended as it has failed to meet the related requirements.

Dubai issued BitOasis an MVP license on April 12, 2023, granting the firm the ability to carry out market operations within limited 30 to 60-day periods. However, BitOasis’s inability to meet stipulated conditions within these timeframes led to VARA’s punitive measures.

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The MVP license, standing for Minimally Viable Product license, is a preliminary license that does not permit full operations in Dubai’s crypto market. VARA additionally stated BitOasis could not apply for the Full Market Product (FMP) License until the firm fulfills the necessary conditions. It also said that BitOasis’s Licence for Institutional and Qualified Retail Investors remains ‘non-operational’.

VARA said it will continue to monitor BitOasis’s compliance with remedial actions and regulatory benchmarks. The regulator explained that the latest alert is merely a public notice and should not replace individual investors’ own due diligence.

Dubai attracts other crypto companies

The latest actions against BitOasis cast a spotlight on regulatory developments that have both permitted and restricted crypto activity in Dubai.

Dubai sent an unrelated reprimand to another crypto exchange, OPNX, in April 2023. It accused the platform of operating as an unlicensed and unregulated platform and issued a cease-and-desist order against the firm and its operators.

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In spite of those recent regulatory actions, Dubai — and, more broadly, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — are often seen as crypto-friendly areas. Both Coinbase and Ripple have recently considered the region as a potential overseas base.

Other firms, such as Bybit, Crypto.com, and OKX have obtained Dubai’s MVP license and are currently permitted to operate in the area. Binance also obtained the MVP license in September 2022 after attempting to do so in March of that year.

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