DIFC announces enactment of new Digital Assets Law


Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has announced the enactment of the world’s first Digital Assets Law to keep pace with the rapid developments in international trade and financial markets, and to provide legal certainty for investors.

The legislative updates are designed to align DIFC laws with the fast-evolving global trade and financial markets driven by technology, ensuring legal clarity and security for digital asset investors and users.

"We consider this legislation to be groundbreaking as the first legislative enactment to comprehensively set out the legal characteristics of digital assets as a matter of property law, and to provide for how digital assets may be controlled, transferred and dealt with by interested parties," explained Jacques Visser, Chief Legal Officer at DIFC Authority.

"At the same time, we are also enacting a new Law of Security, replacing the 2005 law. The revised regime is modelled on the UNCITRAL Model of Secured Transactions and significantly enhances DIFC’s securities regime to keep pace with international developments in this field and to ensure DIFC remains at the forefront of best practice."

Key changes include the introduction of electronic transferable records to enhance the efficiency of cross-border digital trade, enabling faster and more secure transactions and the potential for automating transactions with smart contracts.

Additionally, DIFC has repealed its 2005 Law of Security, replacing it with a new version that reflects innovations in secured transactions, especially regarding digital asset collateral. This new Law of Security aligns with international best practices, drawing inspiration from UNCITRAL’s Model Law on Secured Transactions, and consolidates financial collateral regulations to clarify security over digital assets. 

The new legislation came into effect on March 8 and can be accessed via DIFC’s Legislative Database.

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