Dubai Grants Ex-Singapore Parliamentarian Calvin Cheng’s Web3 Company a Virtual Asset License

  • Ex-Singapore Parliamentarian Calvin Cheng forms the first regulated non-fungible token (NFT) and fan token investment holding company in Dubai.
  • The Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) has granted the company a provisional license to operate under full regulatory supervision alongside Binance, FTX, and Bybit.
  • The holding company, through its portfolio companies including Celeb X, will offer exclusive membership access to lifestyle and entertainment lounges, and celebrities, via NFT and fan token system.
  • Dubai’s seamless integration of cryptocurrency and virtual assets have become increasingly attractive to investors, specifically due to focus on prudent regulatory guard-rails.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates–(Newsfile Corp. – May 24, 2022) – Singaporean investor and entrepreneur Calvin Cheng has established a non-fungible token (NFT) and fan token investment holding company in Dubai. Cheng, formerly an appointed Member of Parliament in Singapore, will invest in projects to integrate crypto into fashion, media and entertainment via Calvin Cheng Web3 Holdings FZE.

The Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) has granted the company a provisional Virtual Asset License. VARA is the world’s first specialised regulator for virtual assets, such as cryptocurrency. As Dubai moves towards safer economic freedom backed by greater technological innovation and digital transformation, VARA will play a central role in creating new investment opportunities in Dubai’s fast-growing virtual asset industry.[1]

The announcement follows similar preliminary permits that enables readiness to operate under full regulatory supervision, that VARA is granting to world-leading crypto exchanges Binance, FTX, and Bybit among other VASPs in the chain.

VARA: A ticket into the metaverse

Calvin Cheng Web3 Holdings FZE voluntarily elected to obtain a VARA license to gain access to a regulated ecosystem, despite their product offering not being subject to supervision in other global jurisdictions. The license provides greater customer assurance and increases consumer risk protection.

As the only global economy to have an independently regulated virtual assets environment under VARA, Dubai’s virtual asset’s ecosystem is governed by comprehensive legislation and internationally applicable policy frameworks. Designed as the world’s first participatory-governance model, where industry innovators and market shapers share responsibility with policy makers to create a more democratic and borderless economy, VARA is structured to increase collaboration and innovation, without compromising public protection.

Under the VARA regime, all business services will be subject to thorough regulatory oversight, and end-to-end mandatory Financial Action Task Force (FATF) compliance controls.

VARA noted “Calvin Cheng Web3 Holdings FZE will be the first international business to actively seek regulation, despite being able to operate lawfully in many other qualifying global jurisdictions. Such appreciation of the need for strong governance in order for the sector to mature and safely scale, reflects credible intent of purpose and sound reputation of Mr. Cheng, which have supported our consideration for this company to participate in Dubai’s MVP programme.”

Calvin Cheng added “Dubai is fast positioning itself as the leading Virtual Assets Hub in the world. Digital Assets is a new space, which needs progressive regulators to keep up with entrepreneurs’ focus on innovation and growth. We are proud to be the first NFT VASP to enter this regulated ecosystem as our commitment to support strong guard rails for the crypto industry to safely grow. A new and forward-thinking regulator like VARA is well-positioned to firmly establish Dubai as the leading global centre for digital assets.”

About Calvin Cheng Web3 Holdings FZE

Calvin Cheng is currently the Chairman of listed Chinese EdTech firm ReTech Technology Co, which he led to an Initial Public Offering, together with leading investors from China. ReTech’s shareholders include several co-founders of Alibaba, as well as founders of other leading Chinese tech companies. Prior to ReTech, Cheng was the Head of Elite Model Management for Asia. He was also the licensee for Ford Supermodel of The World for China, Singapore and Malaysia. Cheng launched a media investment fund with China’s leading film and media group, The Bona Film Group. In Singapore, Cheng was founding director of Lumina-Looque Group, which organises fashion events for global luxury brands like LV, Moncler and Ferrari. Lumina also involved in organising the launch of Dubai Meydan City.

Cheng was a former appointed Member of Singapore’s Parliament and a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum.


Dubai Virtual Asset 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.

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