Dubai, the Web 3 capital of the desert

In October 2022, Hong Kong indicated that it would promote the development of Hong Kong as an international virtual asset centre. In an article entitled “Innovation and Technology Development in Hong Kong”, Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan said that the city wanted to show the global industry its vision of developing Hong Kong into an international virtual asset centre, and exploring with the global asset community the commitment and determination of Financial Sunac. This news has aroused strong concern in the industry.

In addition to Hong Kong, there are also well-known cities across the country that are actively creating virtual economy centers, such as Dubai, who is also actively positioning Web 3 to become a Web 3 leader.

Dubai in search of diversity

Dubai is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates and the capital of one of the country’s Emirate of Dubai Emirates. Located in the heart of the Middle East, facing a flat desert, Dubai is small (about 4,114 square kilometers) , but with a population of more than 3.5 million, it makes up almost one-third of the total population of the United Arab Emirates, this is a measure of Dubai’s prosperity. Why has Dubai prospered? Throughout its history, Dubai’s wealth has been the result of a combination of natural resources and an open policy that has kept pace with the times.

The UAE has the fifth-largest oil reserves of any Middle Eastern country. Dubai’s oil reserves are at the bottom of the seven Emirates, accounting for just 5% of the UAE’s total. In the long run, Dubai’s oil economy will no longer be sustainable. In this context, Dubai is actively seeking alternative industries. The Visionary Dubai began to shift his focus from oil to non-oil, promoting a policy of industrial diversification. This has led to Dubai’s openness to many industries, which has helped the emirate thrive. For example, Port Trade, tourism and financial services have become pillar industries in Dubai.

It is clear that openness has helped Dubai flourish. At present, the world is in the digital economy transition tide, under this tide, Web 3 entered the vision of Dubai.

Dubai wants to create a global Web 3 capital

Dubai is aggressively looking for the next big thing. 2021, blockchain technology continues to evolve, and Web 3 is getting a lot of attention. So did Dubai. Web 3 is not only about finance, but also about the digital economy. This fits Dubai’s need for a digital transformation, which leads Dubai to want to lay out Web 3.

As early as 2013, the UAE launched the Smart Dubai initiative to move blockchain from payment tool 1.0 to financial sector application 2.0, it extends to the evolution of Stage 3.0, which is widely used in other industries and government administration. In 2016, Dubai set up the global blockchain committee, which plans to fully launch blockchain applications by 2020, making it the world’s first full-scale blockchain application region. In 2020, Dubai launched the 2020 Dubai Blockchain Strategy, hoping to become the first city driven by blockchain in the future. This strategy has led Dubai to a number of cases in many areas, including finance, education, real estate, tourism, business, health, transportation and safety.

At Dubai, encryption regulation is trending towards compliance. By 2022, Dubai’s encryption regulator will be a trio of regulators, comprising the Financial Services Authority (FRSA) , the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) and the Dubai Financial Services Authority Authority (DFSA) .

On 1 November 2020, UAE decision no. 23 of 2020 of the chairman of the board of directors of the authority on the regulation of the activities of encrypted assets was issued, the policy states that any provider of encrypted asset services (or related services) must be incorporated in the UAE or in one of the UAE’s financial free zones (i.e. Dubai or Abu Dhabi-RRB- ; It must be licensed by SCA, the Dubai Securities and Commodities Authority. While the UAE clearly wants to regulate the industry, Dubai has become a platform for an inclusive and open approach to blockchain-related industries. On March 9,2022, the UAE’s vice-president and Prime Minister signed into law the first law to regulate Dubai’s Virtual Assets, the Virtual Assets Laws, to better protect investors’ interests, the new Dubai Virtual Assets Authority (Vara) will be responsible for overseeing and overseeing virtual asset issuance and related disclosure processes. The laws of the United Arab Emirates prohibit any person in the emirates from engaging in such activities without VARA’s authorization. This also indicates that Dubai’s regulatory framework for virtual assets is basically complete, providing for the implementation of virtual assets within the regulatory framework by licensing compliance transactions, and leading the world in legislation.

Due to the clarity of the legislation, many crypto-exchanges have come under the name of compliance. For example, more than 90 investment funds and 12 Business incubator, including Binance, ALPEX, Metahero and firecoin, have gathered in Dubai, one of the currency security, OKX, FTX has been granted by VARA virtual assets operating license. In the case of the UAE, it is revealed that the country has more than 1,400 blockchain or encryption start-ups, with a total valuation of 90 billion dirhams ($24.5 billion, 176.3 billion yuan) .

Crypto’s acceptance also suggests that the UAE, and Dubai in particular, is open to investing in emerging assets. Some 11.4 per cent of residents in the UAE own or have invested in Crypto, according to a study by the Emirates Telecommunications Corporation regulator, making it one of the top 10 countries in the world for Crypto residents.

A hotbed for Web 3

Dubai has also become a hotbed for many blockchain-related projects. Between 2017 and the 2021, Dubai attracted 184 FDI projects (creative economy projects) worth 5.2 billion dirhams (10.2 billion yuan) , according to the Dubai Investment Development Authority. In particular, Dubai attracted 58 FDI projects in the 2021 financial services sector, totaling DH926.2 million (1.826 billion yuan) . By the end of the 2021, Dubai ranked first in the world in attracting foreign direct investment projects in the financial services sector, according to a report by the Dubai Investment Development Authority, it surpassed major financial cities such as London, Singapore, New York and Paris.

In October, Dubai’s 2021 family-owned sovereign wealth fund, Sheikh Hamdan bin Ahmed Al Maktoum, announced the launch of a $100 million blockchain investment fund. The Sovereign Fund said it would work closely with commercial companies and regulators to identify investment opportunities in the blockchain sector.

Global cryptographic investment funds such as dubai-based FD7 Ventures are also starting to emerge in related areas such as blockchain. FD7 Ventures, for example, announced the opening of an office in Bangalore, India, and a $250 million”Micro” fund focused on team-building projects, advancing Crypto ecosystems. FD7 Ventures plans to invest about $1.5 million (108 million yuan) annually in 50 Indian start-ups.

According to a study published by Web 3 platform Crypto Oasis, there are more than 1,450 active Web 3 organizations and nearly 7,000 practitioners in Dubai. The report divides Web 3-based projects into two categories: native and non-native blockchain projects. Native blockchain projects are those that are entirely based on native decentralized technology. Currently, 950 organizations (65%) are committed to this and 500 organizations (35%) are in the non-native category.

On 18 July 2022, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al-maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Committee, announced the Dubai meta-universe Strategy on Twitter. The pillars and goals of the strategy include a fivefold increase in the number of blockchain and monverse companies within five years, the introduction of 40,000 virtual jobs and the contribution of US $4 billion (28.7 billion yuan) to Dubai’s economy. Maktoum says the universe will be the next revolution in all aspects of life in the next 20 years. At present there are 1,000 companies in the meta-universe in Dubai alone. The sector contributes $500 million (3.6 billion yuan) to Dubai’s economy, and Dubai expects it to grow strongly for some time to come. In addition to focusing on the meta-universe, the policy also covers areas such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and Web 3, actively building Dubai into a Web 3 capital.

Dubai is the first and only jurisdiction in the world to set up a virtual asset regulator. In March 2022, Dubai enacted the Virtual Assets Act (Val) and established the virtual assets regulatory authority (Vara) . Dubai ranks 1st in the Middle East and 18th in the world in the 2022 Digital Cities Index published by a well-known magazine. It also ranks in the top 10 in the Digital Finance Index, it highlights the emirate’s role as an enabler of blockchain, Web 3 and a leader in building Crypto and digital asset infrastructure. So far, Dubai has implemented 24 blockchain applications in eight key sectors, including finance, education and real estate.

Many blockchain, Web 3-related summits are also held in Dubai, such as the METAVSUMMIT. METAVSUMIT helps top Web 3.0 and meta-universe companies from more than 20 countries meet with investors and strategic partners in Dubai. On September 14,2022, METAVSUMMIT brought together hundreds of founders and engineers from the universe and the Web 3.0 world, with the help of companies such as Cycoin, Metanomic, YUSE, and RIDDEC, showcasing their companies and innovations in Dubai. In addition, many speakers (the top professional influencers in Web 3) were invited, such as Gabriel Nicolaev, Stanislav Gorski, Theo Priestley, Umesh Pandey, Danielius Stasiulis, Matt Hawkins, Luis Carranza, Sallyann Della Casa and Jesus Tortosa.

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