The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a rapidly developing market for virtual assets, and the Emirate of Dubai is no exception. The Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) has issued the Marketing Regulation, the most recent addition to the regulatory framework for virtual assets in Dubai. This regulation governs the promotion of virtual assets and activities related to virtual assets in the Emirate of Dubai, excluding the Dubai International Financial Center. Its purpose is to create a robust and consumer-oriented approach to promotional activities related to virtual assets and protect the reputation of the UAE and, particularly, Dubai as progressive but conscientious regulators. In addition to the application of the aforementioned laws to advertising activities, the Business Transactions Act provides additional protection to commercial competitors who may be affected by misleading advertising.
Failure to comply with the Marketing Regulations or the relevant corrective measures required by the VARA may result in subsequent sanctions or fines, which are detailed in the Sanctions Regulations. The VARA is expected to establish a comprehensive regulatory and licensing framework for virtual assets in Dubai, with the start of the MVP phase and the issuance of provisional licenses for virtual assets. The Marketing Regulations require that all marketing activities aimed directly or indirectly at people in Dubai must have a level of participation and authorization from the VARA. Entities authorized by VARA or seeking to sell products to residents or customers located in Dubai must comply with these requirements. Amazon is currently discussing partnerships with blockchain companies offering non-fungible tokens (NFTs), with potential partners from blockchain gaming firms, digital currency exchanges and layer 1 blockchains. The Fraud Regulations also provide protection against inaccurate commercial statements in advertising.
Any entity that carries out marketing activities related to virtual assets in Dubai must keep a record of all relevant content and audience details for a minimum of years, which must be made available to VARA upon request. When evaluating each advertising request, MOHAP will also take into account provisions set out in marketing authorization certificate for corresponding product and Code. The VARA reserves the right to act if it considers a marketing activity represents a risk to its reputation as regulator or reputation of United Arab Emirates or Dubai with regard to its management of virtual asset sector. Therefore, it is important for entities wishing to participate in marketing activities related to virtual assets in Dubai to be aware of these regulations and ensure they are compliant.