Can my company engage in crypto or other virtual assets-related activities in the UAE?

During the last several years, authorities in different countries have started introducing various regulations covering the activities related to virtual currencies and modifying the laws concerning other types of virtual assets; UAE is not an exception.

Many free zones in the UAE offer the possibility to engage in virtual assets-related activities, however, only few of these activities, for example, crypto trading, do not require additional registration and approvals from the governing institutions. Majority of other activities involving virtual assets, such as crypto exchange services, custodian wallet services, investment funds and token issuing are required to be registered separately, obtain various approvals or even to be fully licensed.

Currently, all crypto-related activities in Dubai are supervised and regulated by the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) which determines particular requirements for specific virtual assets. The introduction of VARA was a positive step ahead for the UAE crypto ecosystem since before it, the only way to obtain a license was to go through the licensing procedures of free zones, which, due to bureaucracy, were not very effective.

Alternatively, if due to the complex nature of a crypto project, obtaining a license locally proves difficult, Nomad Law makes use of corporate structures consisting of two companies: a Dubai company, which benefits from the favorable Dubai tax environment and a Lithuanian company, which benefits from flexible crypto regulations in Lithuania.

Interested in starting your own crypto company? Not sure which jurisdiction to choose? Would like to obtain authorization to provide services involving cryptocurrencies in the UAE? Contact us for a free consultation or check out our solution for a Lithuanian crypto license.

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Nomad Advisory FZCO
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Dubai, United Arab Emirates
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[email protected]


UAB Nomad Law
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Vilnius, Lithuania
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