Skip links
UAE-VARA-A&D Forensics

UAE Implements New Virtual Asset Regulatory Law, VARA

The United Arab Emirate, UAE has implemented the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority Law. UAE is a federation that consists of seven emirates whose border is between Europe and the Far East. The Emirate has been the hub of cryptocurrency trade and related commercial activities. The federation is a prominent regional actor in the Arab Peninsula’s trade that has attracted merchants from India and China into its market.

The UAE has also been regarded as a leading player in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space. This has been evident in increased interest towards hosting blockchain events. In addition, the display of great interest in innovative technology gives blockchain unbound space in the Sheikdom, a society ruled by a sheikh.

FATF Scrutinizes UAE Prior to Regulatory Law

Prior to the new cryptocurrency regulatory law, the UAE had cryptocurrency investors and traders from other countries. These investors believed Dubai is a fair place for them to thrive in investing in cryptocurrency-related businesses  like real estate and so on. UAE’s desire to become a cryptocurrency powerhouse is part of a larger drive to wean itself off oil and gas. Consequently this has led to the possibilities of illicit actors and sanction evaders beginning to leverage on the UAE’s ecosystem.

To this effect, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), on March 4, 2022  added UAE to their grey list. During FATF’s plenary session, FATF cited strategic flaws on UAE’s Regulatory Law  to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation finance. Despite UAE’s significant effort to  improve systems and it’s ability to seize criminals proceeds, in collaboration with other countries, FATF feels there’s a need for improvement. The UAE in their response, agreed to strengthen their systems towards AML/CFT.

UAE Virtual Asset  Regulatory Law Established

The prime minister and president of UAE, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid announced the establishment of the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority, VARA on March 9, 2022 through his twitter handle.

According to his tweet,

Today we approved the virtual assets law and established the Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority. A step that establishes the UAE’s position in this sector. The authority will cooperate with all related entities to ensure maximum transparency and security for cryptocurrency investors and oversee the growth of the crypto currency asset business environment in terms of regulation, licensing and governance”.


The Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority, VARA, will be in charge of licensing and regulating the Virtual Asset sector. In addition, the UAE Regulatory Law Authority ‘VARA’ operates in partnership with Dubai World Trade Center Authority (DWTCA) giving it the need to secure investors’ data.

UAE Cryptocurrency New Law

Following the establishment of the United Arab Emirate regulatory authority, the Dubai ruler also announced that UAE joined countries like US, UK, El Salvador, Singapore, etc in implementing new cryptocurrency law which he employs people of this category to adhere to. The stipulated law includes:

  • All cryptocurrency exchange and firms that support the cryptocurrency transfer must first register their business with the Dubai virtual asset Authority
  • They must be certified before embarking on any crypto currency related activities
  • The new policy will be applied across Dubai excluding other government owned free zones around main land areas.

UAE ‘VARA’ Law Exception and Possible Penalties

The UAE Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority, ‘VARA’ law  applies to all the emirate which includes special development zones and free zones. The Law excludes the  Dubai International Financial Centers (DIFC) which operates under the power of the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).

The Dubai World Trade Centre’s board of directors will establish an Act against offenders.The Act will include possible fines to be imposed on offenders. Meanwhile, VARA is permitted to take actions against individuals who do not comply with the UAE Regulatory Law by VARA. The offenders could be fined or have their permit suspended for not more than six months.


The UAE in partnership with FATF will work to proffer solutions that require improvement as reported by the Emirate News Agency. On that note, to avoid illegal money transaction the FATF recommends regulators to employ blockchain analytic tools to monitor transactions. Also, financial institutions, VASPs, MSBs and OTC traders are required to conduct due diligence and Enhanced Due Diligence where necessary.   

 A&D Forensics gives you a guide on compliance policies and helps you remain compliant. Contact us via 

This website uses cookies to improve your web experience.
On-Site Certified Cryptocurrency Investigator (CCI) Training

Learn how cryptocurrency related transactions, crimes are tracked, traced and prosecuted.

Certified Cryptocurrency Investigator Virtual Training

Learn how cryptocurrency related transactions, crimes are tracked, traced and prosecuted.


Learn how compliance could be a competitive advantage to your exchanges with all your AML, CTF, KYC and OFAC requirements.

By becoming an early bird for each cohort or leveraging our partner firms, you can obtain up to a 25% discount, contact us for more details.

Smart Contract Audit

To speak to us regarding Smart Contract Audit, please fill the form below. We will make every attempt to respond to you as soon as possible

Call Direct: +2348036180089 | +2349095503040

Get in touch

To speak with us as regards our services, to make comments and ask questions, please fill the form below. We will reply as soon as possible.

Call Direct: +2348036180089 | +2349095503040


Chioma Onyekelu is a highly skilled and accomplished professional in the field of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. She is a Certified Cryptocurrency Investigator and Crypto Compliance Specialist, as well as a Blockchain Forensic Specialist and a teacher. She is also a public speaker and her teachings include consultations and practical solutions for African Start-ups on the best and most cost-effective way to build with compliance in mind. With a wealth of knowledge and experience in these cutting-edge technologies, she is well-equipped to navigate the complex landscape of cryptocurrency-related crimes.

In her current role as a Blockchain Forensic Specialist at A&D Forensics, Chioma is responsible for tracing and investigating cryptocurrency-related crimes, as well as training law enforcement agents and compliance officers on the latest developments and best practices in the field. In addition, she is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Blockchain and Digital Currencies at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus, further solidifying her expertise and understanding of the technology.

Chioma's dedication and passion for the field is evident in her work, and she is committed to staying at the forefront of developments in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to provide the best possible service to her clients. Her exceptional skills in educating and consulting make her a valuable asset to the industry and an authority in the field of Blockchain and Crypto Compliance.


Adedeji is a Forensic Investigation Practitioner and CertifiedBlockchain/Cryptocurrency Forensic
Investigator (CFE, CCI, CCFI & Reactor Certified) with more than Fifteen years of experience across few banks within the Nigeria Financial Sector and educator in Corporate workplace settings, Deji is uniquely qualified and involved in forensics analysis of Financial Infractions, Cryptocurrency crimes and designing plans that works for Government, Regulators, Law enforcement.

He was appointed by SEC Nigeria as Member Virtual Asset and Fintech Regulatory framework drafting Committee, He is a member of Global Digital Finance’s KYC/AML working group in France and a member of the Industry led Thinktank that worked on and came out with FATF cryptocurrency Travel rule InterMessaging Standard for Virtual Assets (IVMS101) to help combat money laundering and terrorism financing using cryptocurrencies around the globe.

His law enforcement training efforts on new money and cybercrime have seen him train many law enforcement agents in various countries i.e Nigeria Police, Nigeria Army CyberWarfare command, Zambia Financial Intelligence Unit, Zambia Central Bank and more.
He is Chainalysis Sole Africa Investigative Partner helping law enforcement investigate criminal organizations using cryptocurrency to conceal illiccit activities across Africa, he is also a training Partner for Blockchain Intelligence Group based out of Canada.

Cryptocurrency Investigation Training

Learn how cryptocurrency related transactions, crimes are tracked,
traced and prosecuted.