Digital Assets

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When it comes to digital assets, the debate within the finance industry has moved from ‘why’ to ‘when.’

With this in mind, the DFSA, the independent regulator in DIFC, has established future-focused regulatory regimes which enable responsible use of both investment and crypto tokens within the financial ecosystem.

The regimes provide standards and help manage risks for firms who wish to incorporate this asset classes into their offering.

Initially, regulations were introduced for investment tokens, allowing a wide range of activities to be carried out. These included, issuance, trading on DFSA regulated exchanges and multilateral trading facilities, holdings in digital wallets and the ability to deal, arrange and advise on, and conduct associated asset management activities.

Following extensive consultation, a regime is now in place for recognised crypto tokens, including Fiat Crypto tokens. Financial Services or activities can only be undertaken with a Crypto Token that is recognised by the DFSA.

Digital asset related regimes also address issues such as Market Abuse, AML/CFT, consumer protection and IT governance.

All firms who are currently providing, or want to provide, Financial Services in relation to crypto tokens in or from DIFC will need to obtain the appropriate licence from the DFSA. To obtain this, firms will first need to submit a pre-application to the DFSA via the DFSA website. This includes existing DFSA Authorised Firms that wish to obtain a Variation of their Licence to include crypto tokens.

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Advantages of setting up in DIFC

DIFC is the unrivalled financial hub of the region with an established and tested legal and regulatory framework. Safe and stable, Dubai is a global city and business, trade and tourism centre that is fully connected to regional and global markets.


DIFC is at the heart of regional deal making


MEASA is increasingly central to the global economy


Independent risk-based regulator provides robust regulatory framework

Legal and Regulatory Framework

Although operating independently, the DIFC Authority, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and the Dispute Resolution Authority (DRA) serve a common goal: reinforcing DIFC’s principles of integrity, transparency and efficiency.  

The DIFC Authority is responsible for the guiding strategy, ongoing development and overall public administration of DIFC. The DFSA is the globally recognised independent regulator of financial services conducted in or from DIFC. The DRA provides an English-language, commercial common law judicial system, as well as a dispute resolution platform, and other services to deliver legal excellence in the Middle East.

Register in Three Steps

Simple and straightforward licensing, registration and regulation, makes setting up and operating in DIFC fast and efficient.

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Discuss your proposed use of digital assets with DFSA and DIFC service advisors


Submit application documents


Receive approvals for licenses, visas and consent notifications 

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