Dubai Regulators Crack Down on BitOasis Crypto Exchange
On July 10, the Emirate’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) issued a market alert stating that it had initiated an enforcement action against the BitOasis crypto exchange. BitOasis is one of the largest crypto platforms focused on customers in the Middle East.
According to the alert, BitOasis is under review for “not meeting mandated conditions, required to be satisfied within 30-60 day timeframes prior to being permitted to undertake any VARA regulated market activity.” The Dubai regulator stated that it was “exercising its authority to supervise and monitor compliance,” adding that enforcement actions could include “holding BitOasis’ license status as non-operational.”
BitOasis was awarded the first of Dubai’s “minimum viable product operational licenses,” earlier this year but the regulator may rescind that license. The license allows the firm to offer broker-dealer services for crypto assets to qualified retail and institutional investors from its Dubai headquarters.
BitOasis, which operates in 14 countries across MENA (Middle East and North Africa), claims more than $3 billion in trading volume, according to its website. Last year, the exchange axed 5% of its staff, citing recession and market turmoil.
It is not the first time Dubai regulators have issued warnings and reprimands. In April, VARA issued a reprimand to Kyle Davies and Su Zhu, co-founders of the bankrupt crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital. In May, the regulator reprimanded OPNX founders Mark Lamb and Sudhu Arumugam, as well as its Chief Executive Officer Leslie Lamb, for conducting unregulated activities. In late June, Dubai-based crypto exchange Bybit landed a minimum viable product preparatory license from VARA. Bybit has also slashed staff during the crypto bear market.
Crypto Market Update
Markets are up marginally, but volume remains low, and trading remains sideways. Total capitalization has reached $1.23 trillion at the time of writing, following a 1.6% gain on the day.
Bitcoin spiked to $31,000 briefly during late trading on July 10 but could not hold that level and sharply retreated back to yesterday’s levels around $30,400. Ethereum was up 1.3% on the day at $1,881 at the time of writing. Binance Coin (BNB) and Polygon (MATIC) were performing well, gaining 5% and 8%, respectively.