A United Arab Emirates committee tasked with fighting money laundering has endorsed a regulatory framework for virtual assets, the Gulf state’s central bank said on Wednesday.

The National Committee for Combating Money-Laundering and Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organisations has “announced the adoption of a regulatory framework for virtual assets in the UAE, concordant with approved anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism standards,” the central bank – which is one of the committee members – said in a statement.

The central bank and the Securities and Commodities Authority have been tasked with overseeing the implementation of the rules, the statement said.

“This regulatory framework is an initial step in providing comprehensive regulation of virtual assets, and safeguards the financial system and investors from money laundering and terrorist financing risks,” it said.

In 2019, the financial crimes watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force, announced that cryptocurrency firms would be subjected to rules to prevent the abuse of digital coins such as bitcoin for money laundering. It was the first worldwide regulatory attempt to constrain the rapidly growing sector.

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