• VARA did not provide details about when MetaHQ will be accessible to users or information about the cost of the digital land
  • The US is also expanding its crypto regulatory presence by adding 20 positions to its SEC watchog unit

Dubai’s cryptocurrency regulator has become the first such national watchdog to acquire land in the metaverse with plans to establish a virtual headquarters.

Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) will create its “MetaHQ” using The Sandbox metaverse platform, according to a Tuesday statement from VARA to the WAM news agency. 

MetaHQ plans to provide digital users access to regulatory resources within the virtual environment, something that will become increasingly important as digital presence increases, the statement said. 

“By expanding VARA’s resources to a borderless audience through the Metaverse, Dubai is creating a prototype Decentralised Regulator Model, inviting international thought leaders – global authorities, governance custodians, and industry shapers – to participate, exchange knowledge, and problem-solve collectively so that we enable the dynamic virtual assets sector to build economic resilience, accelerate social inclusion, and address environmental sustainability,” Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said in the statement. 

The development comes as the United States likewise moves to increase regulatory oversight of digital assets — albeit in the physical world.

The SEC announced Tuesday that it will be adding 20 members to the unit responsible for protecting investors in crypto markets and from cyber-related threats. 

The newly renamed Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit, formerly known as the Cyber Unit, will now have 50 team members, including the new hires, the SEC said. 

“The U.S. has the greatest capital markets because investors have faith in them, and as more investors access the crypto markets, it is increasingly important to dedicate more resources to protecting them,” SEC Chair Gary Gensler said in a statement. 

The new SEC positions will focus on regulating cryptocurrency exchanges, lending and staking, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and more.

VARA did not provide details about when MetaHQ will be accessible to users or information about the cost of the digital land.

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  • Blockworks
    Senior Reporter
    Casey Wagner is a New York-based business journalist covering regulation, legislation, digital asset investment firms, market structure, central banks and governments, and CBDCs. Prior to joining Blockworks, she reported on markets at Bloomberg News. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Media Studies. Contact Casey via email at [email protected]