Virtual Asset Activities

A leading destination of choice for virtual asset players

Positioning itself as a destination of choice for virtual asset investors and in response to global demand from the industry, ADGM is the first jurisdiction in the world to introduce a comprehensive and bespoke regulatory framework for the regulation of spot virtual asset activities, including those undertaken by multilateral trading facilities, brokers, custodians, asset managers and other intermediaries.

ADGM is a leading jurisdiction worldwide for the regulation of virtual asset activities. Its comprehensive framework facilitates the operation of industry leading virtual asset players in a business-friendly environment. The regulatory framework addresses the full range of associated risks, including those relating to market abuse and financial crime, consumer protection, technology governance, custody and exchange operations. Amongst the many truly unique aspects of ADGM's Virtual Asset framework, the provisions relating to market abuse and transaction reporting obligations apply.

This framework is one of ADGM's many efforts and part of its ongoing commitment to bolster the economic diversification of Abu Dhabi and the UAE through innovation and sustainable initiatives. This framework does not apply to Digital Securities, Offerings or for other capital raising purposes. For details on the regulatory treatment of Digital Securities, click here.

Multilateral Trading Facilities using Virtual Assets

The FSRA is the first regulator globally to regulate platforms that enable the trading of Virtual Assets as Multilateral Trading Facilities. Under the FSRA's regime, Multilateral Trading Facilities using Virtual Assets are required to meet requirements in relation to market surveillance, settlement, transaction recording, transparency and other systems and controls. In order to foster institutional involvement within virtual asset markets, the FSRA focuses on proper governance, oversight and transparency in relation to actors within this space.

Virtual Asset Intermediaries

Responsible virtual asset players are seeking a regulatory regime like ADGM's which upholds high standards and fosters market confidence. The spot virtual asset framework regulates virtual asset intermediaries, including custodians, brokers, asset managers and advisors, similar to their conventional counterparts with a particular focus on the risks relating to financial crime, consumer protection, technology governance and custody arrangements, where applicable. 

Financial services entities are required to meet specific resource requirements, either designated as Controlled Functions, which require approval by the FSRA, or as Recognised Functions, which are appointed by the entity itself and notified to the FSRA. For more information refer to Chapters 5.3 and 5.4 in the ADGM General Rulebook (GEN).

Entities that are either required or that want to have a physical presence, will find a wide range of Grade A office space on Al Maryah Island to choose from. The ADGM team will advise regarding office requirements on a case by case basis.

Virtual Assets Framework by Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)

In response to global demand from industry players, in 2018, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of ADGM became the first jurisdiction globally to introduce and implement a comprehensive and bespoke regulatory framework for the regulation of exchanges, custodians, brokers, and other intermediaries engaged in virtual asset activities.

Guiding Principles to Virtual Asset Regulation and Supervision

The Guiding Principles cover the FSRA's approach to virtual asset regulation and supervision, specifically outlining its expectations and risk appetite for the sector via the key pillars of: regulation; authorisation; preventing financial crimes; supervision; enforcement; and international cooperation.


Why set up your Virtual Assets business in ADGM

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Comprehensive virtual regulatory framework

ADGM is the world's first jurisdiction to develop a comprehensive virtual regulatory framework making it a leading global destination for Virtual Asset Activities.
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Familiar regulatory standards

ADGM is the first jurisdiction globally to apply regulatory standards similar to those applicable to traditional markets.

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Rule of law

A strong rule of law through the direct application of English common law, strong judiciary, speed of judgment facilitated by world's first e-Courts, seat of arbitration, and a strong system of enforceability of judgments providing legal certainty and comfort for transactions undertaken in its market.
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Tax efficient

ADGM is a tax friendly environment, with 0% direct tax and access to the UAE's extensive double tax treaties.
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Progressive ecosystem

ADGM prides itself on being a progressive regulator open to the use of new technologies and innovation.
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