We are delighted to announce that BitOasis has just been issued with a Minimum Viable Product Operational License (operational MVP) by the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (“VARA”).

BitOasis is the first crypto trading platform to reach this important milestone with VARA – namely to be allowed to onboard and serve customers in and from the Emirate of Dubai. 

We wanted to share some important updates with you below about the operations MVP license, our operating status in Dubai, and our ability to serve customers across the GCC and the wider Middle East and North Africa region.

1. Can you tell us more about VARA?

The Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority is the world’s first dedicated virtual asset regulator. 
VARA was established in March 2022 under Dubai Law No 4 (Regulating Virtual Assets in the Emirate of Dubai) and is responsible for supervising all virtual asset activity in the Emirate of Dubai in collaboration with the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority. 

2. What does the operational MVP license mean for me?

First and foremost, we believe that the operational MVP license, and the fact that we are the first trading platform to receive it, is a vote of confidence in the way we operate, our processes, products and focus on protecting our customers.
Under the operational MVP license, we can provide qualified investors across our region with buy, sell and wallet services. VARA defines a qualified investor as individuals or incorporated legal entities who maintain a cash holding of AED 500,000, and have relevant knowledge of virtual assets and related services.  
Over the next few weeks we will be providing further details to you about how we will migrate existing and new qualified investors under the new license. 
This will include changes to our terms and conditions and the BitOasis entity or entities that provide you services.

3. What about if I am not a ‘qualified’ investor?

There will be no change to the products or services provided to you if you are not a qualified investor.
In March 2022, BitOasis was issued with a Provisional Approval by VARA under which we continue to provide services to all customers across our region from Dubai. We are not restricted from providing services to retail customers under this approval. 
VARA anticipates that all retail investors will be served under a single license later this year. 

4. Is the VARA framework only applicable to customers in Dubai?

No. The VARA framework we operate under allows us to acquire and serve customers across our region from the Emirate of Dubai. 
So, if you live outside of the Emirate of Dubai, in one of the 15 countries we serve, there are no changes to the way we will provide products and services to you but you should be reassured that those products and services will be provided to you under, and in accordance with, VARA’s framework. 

5. What about your status outside of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates?

Under the United Arab Emirates Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism Laws (Federal Decree-Law No. (20) of 2018 On Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Financing of Illegal Organisations (the “AML-CFT Law” or “the Law”) and implementing regulation, Cabinet Decision No. (10) of 2019 Concerning the Implementing Regulation of Decree Law No. (20) of 2018 On Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organisations) virtual asset platforms like BitOasis are required by law to register with and report to the United Arab Emirates’ Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). 
BitOasis was the first platform to be registered with and start reporting to the FIU in Q4 2021. 

6. Are you licensed in other markets?

As a virtual asset platform with a strong bias towards compliance and regulation, we seek to serve our region with regulated products and services whenever we can. We expect to launch a platform in the Kingdom of Bahrain later this year under the supervision of the Central Bank of Bahrain. 

7. And finally, a word about our journey so far. 

BitOasis was formed in Dubai in 2016 – prior to any global regulation for virtual assets. 
Since 2016, however, we have always strived to operate our business with consumer protection and collaboration with government partners in mind. In the UAE we have worked with UAE government entities such as the Executive Office for AML/CFT, the FIU, and cyber-crime entities to ensure that we operate with consumer protection always top of mind. 
We are delighted that, 8 years on, having given over 700,000 customers the opportunity to buy, sell and trade in excess of USD $5bn in virtual asset transactions on BitOasis, we are able to work with the world’s first stand-alone virtual asset regulator, VARA, in our home in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates.
We remain committed to contributing to the development of the virtual asset ecosystem in Dubai, across the United Arab Emirates, the Middle East and North Africa, and other emerging markets.