DFSA Announces Key Amendments to Crypto Token Regime

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has unveiled pivotal amendments to its Crypto Token regime, marking a significant advancement in the regulatory landscape for Crypto Tokens within the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). These changes, stemming from the proposals in Consultation Paper 153 published in January 2024, aim to enhance and refine the regulatory environment in response to evolving market dynamics and international standards.

Key Areas of Amendment

The updated regime addresses several critical areas:

Funds:The ability to offer Units of External and Foreign Funds investing in recognized Crypto Tokens.The ability for Domestic Qualified Investor Funds to invest in unrecognized Crypto Tokens.

Custody:Custody of Crypto Tokens.Staking of Crypto Tokens.

Financial Crime:Enhanced financial crime compliance guidance, including the “travel rule.”Improved transaction monitoring and blockchain analysis.

Recognition of Crypto Tokens:Defined recognition criteria for Fiat Crypto Tokens (stablecoins).Introduction of a fee for the recognition of Crypto Tokens.

Basis for Amendments

These amendments are informed by recent market developments, insights from international standard-setters, and the DFSA’s supervisory experience. Since the implementation of the Crypto Token regime in 2022, the DFSA has engaged with over 100 firms seeking licenses, gaining valuable insights into market needs and regulatory requirements.

International standards have notably evolved over the past two years. Recommendations from the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) on Crypto, Digital Assets, and Decentralised Finance (DeFi) have been influential. Additionally, the Basel Committee has proposed amendments to the standards for banks’ exposures to Crypto assets, particularly focusing on the reserve assets of stablecoins.

Statement from DFSA Chief Executive

Ian Johnston, Chief Executive of the DFSA, commented: “Our objective with the Crypto Token regime is to foster innovation in a responsible and transparent manner while ensuring we meet our regulatory objectives. At the DFSA, we have taken a balanced approach in the development of this regime and remain committed to evolving it in line with global best practices and standards.”

Previous Consultation Paper

In January 2024, the DFSA released a Consultation Paper (CP) aiming to gather public input on proposed amendments to their regulatory framework governing financial services activities associated with Crypto Tokens. This consultation paper was crucial in shaping the current amendments, reflecting the feedback and insights from various stakeholders in the industry.

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