Dubai International Financial Centre Enacts Digital Assets Law
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Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Enacts Digital Assets Law

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), one of the largest free zones of the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region, has enacted a new Digital Assets Law, revamping its whole legislative system to include these tools. 

The law changes previous contracts, insolvency, damages, obligations, securities, and personal property laws, amending them to account for the existence of these assets.

Dubai International Financial Centre Recognizes Digital Assets In “World’s First” Law

Digital assets are gaining recognition, and more lawmakers are including them in innovative law frameworks. 

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), one of the largest financial hubs in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region, has enacted what they call the “world’s first” digital assets law, that accounts for the existence of this asset class.

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Besides its definitions, DIFC’s Digital Assets Law amends a series of other laws, including the contracts law, law of obligations, law of security, law of damages and remedies, trust law, and foundations law, to address some determinations. 

For example, some laws now consider some digital assets as money, and some modify the definition of this asset class to the one adopted by this new law.

Jacques Visser, Chief Legal Officer at DIFC Authority, explained the potential of this law and its pioneer character in the world. 

Visser remarked that the DIFC considers this document “groundbreaking,” as it is “the first legislative enactment to comprehensively set out the legal characteristics of digital assets as a matter of property law.” 

Furthermore, the document provides “for how digital assets may be controlled, transferred and dealt with by interested parties.”

Dubai approved its digital assets law in 2022, appointing the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) as the agency in charge of the sector. 

However, this law did not apply to the DIFC, as the free zone has its own governing body, the DIFC Authority, and its financial services regulator, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).

In August, the DIFC announced that it would subsidize 90% of the cost of the licenses for Web3 and artificial intelligence (AI) companies waiting to open operations in the special economic zone.

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