VARA Fined OPNX, CEO, and Founders $2.7M
Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) has come down hard on the cryptocurrency project OPNX. The regulatory body fined OPNX — conceptualized by the founders of the collapsed digital hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC) — as well as its CEO and founders, a sum of $2.7 million.
Notably, the executives have cleared their fines. However, OPNX remains in default, prompting VARA to consider punitive measures.
The Backdrop to the Fines
On August 16, 2023, VARA’s enforcement notice shared that OPNX had still not settled a 10 million AED ($2.72 million) penalty slapped on them on May 2 for market misdemeanors. The CEO of OPNX, Leslie Lamb, along with 3AC founders Su Zhu, Kylie Davies, and OPNX’s co-founder Mark Lamb were also collectively fined 200,000 AED ($54,450) on the same day. This fine was in relation to breaches of marketing, advertising, and promotions norms. Encouragingly for the regulatory body, all four individuals have complied and paid in full.
Despite the controversy, OPNX has displayed impressive trading figures since its launch in April 2023. Within a short span, the platform has amassed an average daily volume of $102 million, showcasing the scale of its operations and influence.
The platform’s post-launch period also saw the announcement of a new partner: a venture capital entity named 3AC Ventures. Separate from the ill-fated 3AC hedge fund, this new venture promises “superior risk-adjusted returns without leverage,” as per their official website declaration. However, given its links to a previously failed project, the VC fund’s introduction was met with skepticism.
Dubai Taking Tough Stance Against OPNX
Prior to these financial penalties, VARA had admonished key figures like Zhu, Davies, both Lambs, and Sudhu Arumugan. Their offense? Engaging in non-regulated actions in Dubai and aggressively promoting OPNX to the city’s inhabitants without securing regulatory consent.
With OPNX yet to clear its dues, VARA is gearing up for further enforcement actions. The regulatory body, in its statement, asserted, “VARA will decide on necessary corrective measures against OPNX, which could encompass additional fines, penalties, and/or decisive actions to ensure complete payment and rectify the conduct. This includes potentially referring the case to suitable law enforcement bodies or courts.”