Abu Dhabi regulator introduces its ‘guiding principles’ for crypto

The FSRA is taking a pro-market stance but pledges to comply with international safety standards.

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), the financial regulator of Abu Dhabi Global Market free economic zone (ADGM), published its “Guiding Principles” on its approach to digital asset regulation and supervision. 

Friendly in tone to the crypto industry, the principles pledge to comply with international standards in Anti-Money Laundering (AML), combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) and supporting financial sanctions. 

Five principles were published without date specification on the official webpage of the ADGM. They go under the titles of Internationally Recognised Regulatory Framework, Dynamic and Market-Oriented Regulations, Risk-focused and Proportionate Approach, Cooperation and Shared Responsibility, Delivering High Standards of Quality & Service.

While in general the tone and content of the principles correspond to standard declarations of making the market more dynamic, innovative and safe, at the same time, there are some specific points that would define the ADGM regulatory landscape.

According to the principles, the ADGM’s legislative framework will be based on English Common Law. Within the economic zone, the Regulator, Registrer and Court functions will operate entirely independently, with a regulatory committee appointed by the board to ensure supervisory independence.

As liberal as they sound, these premises will be supplemented by compliance with international AML/CFT standards, close cooperation with other jurisdictions and “financial sector surveillance” as a part of the FSRA function.

Related: Swiss and Dubai crypto associations team up

The regulator also intends to collaborate closely with market participants on a “regular but informal” basis. This will include one-on-one sessions between regulatory and business teams, as well as the working groups of market participants and professionals.

In March 2022, ADGM published a consultation paper proposing that licensed companies will be allowed to facilitate nonfungible token (NFT) trading in the jurisdiction. In April, Binance and Kraken became the first foreign companies to receive regulatory approvals to operate in ADGM.

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