- With a presence in The Sandbox, Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority [VARA] demonstrates recognition of the ‘digital assets sector’ as a core Future Economy pillar, and of Virtual LANDs as a strategic engagement platform for the community;
- This move will see The Sandbox collaborate with the VARA and its Licensees to support pioneering global regulatory and sector-building efforts for the industry;
- VARA MetaHQ will enable regulated participants scale their footprint in The Sandbox and nurture responsible business behaviour, with strong accountability
DUBAI, UAE: Following the announcement of Dubai’s VARA MetaHQ in The Sandbox by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, The Sandbox, a leading decentralized gaming virtual world and a subsidiary of Animoca Brands, revealed details of the LAND acquisition deal concluded earlier this week.
This first-of-its-kind ‘official’ regulatory presence in the Metaverse, with the planned VARA MetaHQ in The Sandbox reflects the UAE’s commitment to the Future Global Economy, and its confidence in the sound market security fundamentals, and sustainability of Web3 ecosystems. Guided by the mission to enable mass economic freedom with reliable cross-border safeguards, Dubai sees it as an imperative to open a live ‘multiverse’ channel for collaboration between governments, thought-leaders, and industry shapers. VARA’s prime Metaverse LAND adjoins two Estates earmarked by The Sandbox for its own efforts to raise consumer awareness, and encourage industry best-practice sharing within its community. This will also allow VARA licensees to engage with their peers, showcase IP to launch new services to market, and sustainably scale their footprint in The Sandbox.
As the first Metaverse ecosystem with a regulatory HQ presence, The Sandbox will offer all its Web3 participants, direct access to the only niche global regulator for Virtual Assets within its LANDs, encouraging knowledge sharing, and enhancing growth opportunities for the industry. VARA in turn, will offer (i) its licensees the opportunity to connect directly with The Sandbox on commercial, educational, and social partnerships, and (ii) support the development of global talent pools with metaverse expertise for brands to be able to deliver immersive experiences with the free range of tools provided by The Sandbox. This strategic association aims to facilitate systematic entry of old economy businesses, backed by safe adoption of digitalized assets across global markets – ultimately enriching an already diverse metaverse that is now home to numerous first-mover brands spanning fashion, media-entertainment, lifestyle and gaming, to real-estate, retail, education, and finance.
“We are thrilled to witness the progressive mission of Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), establishing VARA at the forefront of innovation by being the first regulator in the open metaverse.” said Sebastien Borget, COO & Co-Founder of The Sandbox.
“We aim to provide a responsible, creative platform that empowers individuals – artist, creator, business, or investor – to truly own their IP and monetise their assets in a decentralized virtual world. Our priority is to provide an open stage for talent at the epicentre of the future society, bringing together entertainment, media, gaming, lifestyle, fashion, technology, finance, and more. Dubai’s VARA MetaHQ is a strong vote of confidence in the global Virtual Asset industry, and signals that the UAE is here to play an important role in supporting its safe growth. We are proud to be the first open metaverse platform of choice for Dubai, bringing together government and business to jointly experience the possibilities of Web3 and create a sustainable new economy.”
VARA was established on 28-February 2022 in Dubai by a landmark decree, further to the recent UAE Government announcement of strategic intent at the end of 2021. Among its objectives is creating a responsive regulatory environment that protects markets and investors, and enables the industry to scale safely and reliably. The Authority is the only government agency world-wide, to be specifically set up for this sector, and has now become the global first to enter the Metaverse. Commenting on the LAND acquisition, Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority, relayed UAE Leadership’s confidence in the potential of the virtual assets industry as a driver of global economic growth:
“We strongly believe that it is our collective responsibility as government to enable the VA sector scale more systematically, in order for us to be able to protect the most vulnerable segments of society. Dubai’s entry into the Metaverse with The Sandbox that houses a highly international business mix, allows us to access one of the more representative bases in this environment, as the first step towards designing an effective ‘decentralised’ regulatory model. Our leadership’s vision for a future-proofed, borderless, and more equitable new multi-verse economy, is founded on ‘shared global principles’ of consumer protection and industry empowerment – and to this end, we welcome our peer regulators to join this aspirational journey.”
Underlying these end-state ambitions, The Sandbox fully embraces the idea of the metaverse as a continuous shared digital space manifested as part virtual real estate, part amusement park, where worlds and heroes collide to make magic. VARA joins over 200 global IPs including Warner Music Group, Ubisoft, The Rabbids, Gucci Vault, The Walking Dead, Snoop Dogg, Adidas, Deadmau5, Steve Aoki, Richie Hawtin, The Smurfs, Care Bears, Atari, ZEPETO, and CryptoKitties, all aligned withThe Sandbox’s vision of empowering consumers to create their own experiences using both original and well-known characters and worlds.
Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) is the world’s first specialised regulator for the Virtual Assets sector. Established in March 2022, following the effect of Law No.4 of 2022, VARA is responsible by decree for licensing and regulating the Virtual Asset sector in the Emirate of Dubai and its free zone territories (excluding DIFC), and oversees all licensing requirements and applications for authorisation of Virtual Asset activities under UAE law. VARA plays a central role in creating Dubai’s advanced legal framework to protect investors and establish international standards for Virtual Asset industry governance, while supporting the vision for a borderless economy.
About The Sandbox
A subsidiary of Animoca Brands, The Sandbox is one of the decentralized virtual worlds that has been fueling the recent growth of virtual real estate demand having partnered with major IPs and brands, to build on their existing IP offering over 40 million global installs on mobile. The Sandbox metaverse offers players and creators a decentralized and intuitive platform to create immersive 3D worlds and game experiences and to safely store, trade, and monetize their creations.
About Animoca Brands
Animoca Brands, a Deloitte Tech Fast winner and ranked in the Financial Times list of High Growth Companies Asia-Pacific 2021, is a leader in digital entertainment, blockchain, and gamification that is working to advance digital property rights. It develops and publishes a broad portfolio of products including the REVV token and SAND token; original games including The Sandbox, Crazy Kings, and Crazy Defense Heroes; and products utilizing popular intellectual properties including Disney, WWE, Snoop Dogg, The Walking Dead, Power Rangers, MotoGP™, and Formula E. The company has multiple subsidiaries, including The Sandbox, Blowfish Studios, Quidd, GAMEE, nWay, Pixowl, Bondly, Lympo, Grease Monkey Games, and Eden Games. Animoca Brands has a growing portfolio of more than 170 investments in NFT-related companies and decentralized projects that are contributing to building the open metaverse, including Axie Infinity, OpenSea, Dapper Labs (NBA Top Shot), Yield Guild Games, Harmony, Alien Worlds, Star Atlas, and others.