Dubai Regulatory Authority creates MetaHQ in the Sandbox Metaverse


VARA MetaHQ established in the fastest growing decentralized virtual world The Sandbox.

The Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) announced its entry into the Metaverse with the establishment of its Metaverse HQ in the dynamic virtual world of ‘The Sandbox‘. As the world’s first regulator to debut in the Metaverse, VARA aims to ensure that the regulator is accessible to its industry in its environment, and to facilitate collaboration between global virtual asset service providers (VASPs), industry thought leaders and international regulatory authorities.

VARA, established to provide a secure and progressive operating framework for the virtual asset (VA) industry to scale, while ensuring market and investor protection, hopes to regulate the guiding principles of services and activities, rather than the continually evolving products and underlying technologies. This bold move reflects the Dubai Government’s confidence that virtual assets are an integral part of the future digital economy, and its readiness to establish the Emirate as the virtual asset capital of the world.

Inaugurating VARA’s MetaHQ at the Sandbox, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, said, “Dubai maintains a leadership position at the forefront of technological transformation. We have moved beyond the role of early adopters to become innovators and participants in shaping the future of this technology.” Today, VARA joins the Metaverse to become Dubai’s – and the Metaverse’s – first government authority, ushering in a new era in which the Dubai Government uses modern innovations to extend its services and regulatory power to audiences in an open technological expanse, without limitations or boundaries. VARA represents a serious effort to build a powerful new economic sector that contributes to the nation’s economy and creates new investment opportunities, and this is made possible by the secure and modern regulatory solutions we envision. Our presence in the Metaverse therefore marks the beginning of a new phase in the Dubai Government’s march into the future; a phase that will have a long-term positive impact.”

His Highness added: “VARA has established itself as a mission-focused regulator to safely nurture and scale a rapidly decentralizing business landscape based on four core principles: secure cross-border interoperability, informed investor adoption, prioritization of market protection, and responsible industry engagement.

By extending VARA’s resources to a borderless audience across the Metaverse, Dubai is creating a prototype Decentralized Regulator Model, inviting international thought leaders – global authorities, governance custodians and industry shapers – to participate, exchange knowledge and solve problems collectively, so that we enable the dynamic virtual asset sector to build economic resilience, accelerate social inclusion and address environmental sustainability.”

In an emphatic commitment to enabling economic freedom in the Metaverse, VARA joins private sector game changers, innovators and market makers across ICT, financial and professional services, lifestyle, entertainment and consumer goods beyond the world of gaming and VASPs. VARA’s MetaHQ will serve as its primary channel to engage VASPs around the world to initiate applications, enable younger licensees to enter the metaverse, openly share knowledge and experiences with consumers and peer regulators to increase awareness, enable secure adoption and drive global interoperability.

H.E. Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai World Trade Center Authority, commented:

“Dubai sees the virtual asset sector as the driver of the global economy of the future. VARA has been established at a crucial time in response to the Emirate’s expanding and incredibly sophisticated and modern legal framework regulating virtual asset activities. As the first regulator specializing in the VA sector globally, VARA’s Metaverse headquarters also makes the UAE the first jurisdiction to enter this platform, reflecting our leadership’s aspiration to facilitate a new borderless marketplace that enables sustainable economic freedom.

VARA’s acquisition of land in the Sandbox is symbolic of our belief in this sector, and it is incumbent upon us as a government to be the bridge that allows investors and consumers to safely adopt, and scale the economy collaboratively. In addition to producing a direct economic benefit and GDP acceleration for Dubai, VARA sees this as the first step towards shared learning and developing expertise across global regulators, so that the international community can benefit from a virtual economy that has been allowed to scale safely and sustainably.”

Dubai’s intention to become a hub for cryptocurrency development has been made clear in the UAE city. Early last month, Dubai established regulations for the cryptocurrency industry and then began offering virtual asset licenses. Leading cryptocurrency companies from around the world, such as FTX, Binance, ByBit and even, have acquired virtual asset licenses from Dubai.

About Sandbox

Each metaverse parcel offers a virtual space to buy, sell, create and exchange digital assets based on the Ethereum blockchain. Sandbox was originally founded in 2011 and has quickly gained popularity and status as the leading platform for acquiring plots and land in the metaverse, with over 4 million downloads worldwide and a $93 million investment from SoftBank.

About VARA

The Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) is the world’s first specialized regulator for the virtual asset sector. Established in March 2022, following the entry into force of Law No. 4 of 2022, VARA is responsible by decree for the licensing and regulation of the Virtual Assets sector in the Emirate of Dubai and its free zone territories (excluding the DIFC), and oversees all licensing requirements and applications for authorization of Virtual Assets activities under UAE law. VARA plays a key role in creating Dubai’s advanced legal framework to protect investors and set international standards for the governance of the Virtual Assets sector, while supporting the vision of a borderless economy.

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