UAE ADGM proposes amendments to virtual assets regulation

UAE ADGM (Abu Dhabi Global Market) regulator, The Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) has published a consultation paper proposing significant amendments to virtual assets regulations, allowing multilateral trading facilities ( crypto exchanges) to conduct NFT ( Non Fungible token) activities.

This would mean crypto exchanges who hold MTF licenses in ADGM could conduct NFT activities. These would include entities such as Yoshi Markets, BitOasis, Dex Exchange, Matrix exchange

As per the consultation paper, the proposed wide-ranging amendments would enable greater participation within the primary and secondary markets, and ensure ADGM market participants continue to operate in accordance and under the protection of the highest regulatory standards.

The proposed changes are set to significantly benefit markets-related activities, including virtual assets, securities, derivatives, commodities and benchmarks, and will affect recognized investment exchanges, recognized clearing houses, multilateral trading facilities (MTFs), organized trading facilities (OTFs), remote bodies, remote members, offerers, issuers, listed entities, reporting entities, and sponsors.

With the publication of the Consultation Paper, ADGM is launching its transition to Virtual Assets Framework 2.0., heralding a new stage for the asset class. Proposed changes include:

requirements on the use, sharing and reuse of public keys;amendments to the risk disclosure requirements; andallowing regulated MTF/Custodian groups within ADGM to conduct non-fungible token (NFT) activities.

ADGM has seen significant growth in the number licensed firms offering virtual asset related activities in its jurisdiction, with 11 fully licensed and approved in-principle virtual asset players.

The chairman of ADGM, Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, stated “ADGM has been a pioneer since its inception, providing regulatory leadership and innovative initiatives that position ADGM and Abu Dhabi as the jurisdiction of choice. “The proposed enhancements to our capital markets framework will serve to unlock the next stage of investment and growth opportunities, including in virtual assets, spot commodities and emission allowances.”

He added, “These amendments will strengthen our innovative leadership in virtual assets and commodities trading regionally and internationally, and drive advancements to position ADGM and Abu Dhabi well for the future.”

The CEO of the FSRA, Emmanuel Givanakis, said: “The significant enhancements to our capital markets framework is part of the FSRA’s objective to continue to develop ADGM’s comprehensive regulatory framework to further enhance ADGM’s vibrant financing ecosystem. It will help support and bolster the growth of enterprises that will in turn contribute to the growth and diversification of the economy of Abu Dhabi and the broader UAE as well as the broader region, while providing greater participant and investor choice. Collectively, our regulatory framework caters to the funding needs of a wide range of companies at different stages of their growth and life cycle.”

The Consultation Paper is open for a period of 2 months, with responses due back to the FSRA by 20 May 2022. UAE ADGM has been at the forefront of virtual assets economy growth and published a paper on the topic.

This comes a week after Dubai announced its virtual assets regulations.

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