Dubai’s dedicated crypto regulatory body, the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA), is undergoing a leadership shift to usher in the next phase of its expansion in 2023. Henson Orser, the outgoing CEO and former banker with experience at Nomura Holdings, will pass the baton to Matthew White, a seasoned global adviser who held various roles at PwC. Notably, Orser will continue contributing to VARA in a consulting capacity, ensuring a seamless transition and ongoing collaboration.
Under Orser’s leadership, VARA implemented a comprehensive regulatory framework for the crypto space in 2023, a move that gained significance following the FTX collapse. The establishment of a specialized regulatory regime reflects Orser’s dedication to fostering a secure and compliant crypto environment.
VARA emphasized that Orser’s commitment remains unwavering, and his role as a consultant underscores the strong partnership between him and the regulatory authority. In a statement to Cointelegraph, VARA acknowledged Orser’s contribution to creating a robust regulatory structure and expressed confidence in White’s ability to lead VARA into its next chapter.
This leadership transition aligns with the broader regulatory landscape in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where authorities are tightening rules and imposing fines on unlicensed virtual asset service providers (VASPs). Multiple UAE regulators recently collaborated to release comprehensive guidelines for VASPs on November 8, outlining penalties for those operating without proper licenses. This regulatory overhaul is part of the UAE’s efforts to be removed from the Financial Action Task Force’s “grey list,” a designation it received in 2022.
As VARA navigates this transition and braces for intensified market operations, the appointment of Matthew White signals a strategic move to align with global best practices and strengthen Dubai’s position in the evolving landscape of crypto regulation.