Dubai crypto regulator fines OPNX $2.7 million for this offence
- VARA also fined $54,000 to OPNX leaders for violating advertising laws.
- The individuals have paid the fines, unlike the exchange.
It has come to light that Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), Dubai’s crypto regulator, fined the OPNX exchange 10 million dirhams ($2.7 million) in May.
On 16 August, VARA issued a notice of fines imposed on OPNX. The regulator said that it fined the exchange for violating market regulations in the United Arab Emirates. The exchange has not paid the fine so far.
VARA also fined 200,000 dirhams ($54,000) to OPNX founders Kyle Davies, Su Zhu, Mark Lamb, and CEO Leslie Lamb. The regulator imposed these fines on the individuals for violating the marketing, advertising, and promotional laws of Dubai.
While the executives have paid the fines to the authorities, OPNX is yet to pay the fine.
The regulator said,
“VARA shall determine consequential actions warranted against OPNX, which may include further fines, penalties, and/or taking any actions necessary to recover payment and definitively remedy the behaviour including, but not limited to, referring the matter to any law enforcement agency(ies) or competent courts.”
3AC’s shadow haunts OPNX
The founders of the defunct crypto asset hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC) founded the OPNX exchange in April 2023. OPNX was previously known as CoinFlex. It first identified its financial backers on Twitter.
1/ As we approach the launch of claims for our first estate, Celsius, we’d like to express gratitude to everyone who believed in our mission of helping 20M+ claimants.
A special thank you goes to our major investors, including AppWorks, Susquehanna (SIG), DRW, MIAX Group, China pic.twitter.com/G406Y7Ponz
— ? OPNX (Open Exchange) (@OPNX_Official) April 21, 2023
Soon after, a number of them denied the association with OPNX. OPNX CEO Leslie Lamb called the conduct of DRW, MIAX and SIG “disgusting and disappointing.”
I’ve gotten all but 4 hours of sleep dealing with the nonsense that has ensued from transparent communications, so I’ll get straight to it.
Investors want all the upside with little to no risk. But I’m here to remind everyone that’s not how entrepreneurship works, if it isn’t…
— Leslie Lamb (@therealleslamb0) April 22, 2023
On 16 August, OPNX shared on Twitter that its 24-hour trading volume hit $165 million. Its daily trading volume remained above $100 million for the last seven days.
Another day, another ATH of trading volume on OPNX ??
$165M in trade volume in the last 24 hours & we’ve broken $100M average volume over the last 7 days for the first time! ?
— ? OPNX (Open Exchange) (@OPNX_Official) August 16, 2023
But OPNX’s reputation has continued to be under the radar as 3AC, the platform earlier founded by OPNX founders, left a long line of investors with huge losses.
As far as the UAE is concerned, the jurisdiction has enacted specified rules and regulations around the crypto sector.
The regulating body, VARA, has acted against erring crypto platforms too. In July, VARA revoked the BitOasis’ license. It was the first crypto exchange to get an operating license in the UAE.
The regulator took enforcement action against the exchange as the latter failed to meet the required conditions set by the regulator within a deadline.