DUBAI, 2nd August 2022 (WAM) – The recent launch of the Dubai Metaverse strategy by Crown Prince and President of the Dubai Executive Council, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, positions the city as a global pioneer by offering the most advanced and connected ecosystem in the world where the metaverse community can thrive in a dynamic and inspiring environment.
This decision solidifies Dubai’s status as the world capital of advanced technologies, primarily artificial intelligence (AI) and Web3.
Dubai already hosts over 1,000 metaverse and blockchain companies. As the city attracts new players, the industry’s current $ 500 million contribution to the economy is expected to increase significantly. The Dubai Metaverse strategy aims to support over 40,000 virtual jobs by 2030 and add $ 4 billion to Dubai’s economy over five years.
The emirate is making rapid progress with its metaverse strategy, announcing the formation of a Higher Committee for Future Technologies and the Digital Economy chaired by Sheikh Hamdan. The committee’s goal is to solidify Dubai’s status as a global hub of the digital economy.
The committee will design policies, analyze trends and oversee the implementation of strategies related to the digital economy and future technologies, including Metaverse, AI, Blockchain, Web3, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Internet of Things (IoT), data center and cloud computing.
The Dubai-based Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) formulated a Test-Adapt-Scale model that proved to be a compelling proposition for businesses in the global economy of the future. The model is a magnet for high-value, technology-driven companies migrating to Dubai. The city seeks to become one of the top 10 economies of the metaverse and a global pioneer in adopting digital solutions, with the goal of increasing the number of blockchain businesses five times.
Major players moving to Dubai to join the exclusive VARA regime open to a limited number of licensees include some of the largest and most credible virtual asset exchanges in the world such as Binance, FTX, crypto .com, Coinbase and Bybit. This adds to traditional finance icons offering DeFi (decentralized finance) solutions such as Galaxy Digital, Komainu and Brevan Howard, native crypto service providers and local virtual asset companies like BitOasis and CoinMENA.
Experts envision Web3 as the decentralized and democratized version of Web2, the current iteration of the Internet. Many believe it will include “publicly owned” social media platforms, search engines and markets, replacing the current “company-owned” format.
The Dubai metaverse leadership is the first and only jurisdiction in the world to have the foresight to implement a dedicated regulator for virtual assets. In March of this year, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Governor of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, passed the Dubai Virtual Assets Act (VAL) and established VARA, firmly consolidating the leadership of Dubai in the area. The law provides the necessary investor protection, economic security and market transparency, supported by fully traceable and indelible transaction records.
The CEO of Dubai World Trade Center Authority, headquarters of VARA, Helal Al Marri, said: “Virtual assets are transforming the financial world and should be the main drivers of the future global economy. The VARA regime is structured to catalyze the collaboration and giving priority to the protection of the public “.
Dubai is a pioneer in several new era business sectors such as FinTech and e-commerce. The Economist’s Digital Cities Index 2022 ranks Dubai first in the Middle East and 18th globally. Within the index, Dubai is in the Top 10 for digital finance.
Since its inception, VARA has worked to create a supportive ecosystem and identify a very selective list of global participants among the hundreds of industry players it attracts.
It is made possible by partnerships with some of the most recognized players in the world such as Chainalysis, Elliptic, AnChain and Coinfirm. Financial services firm Fintonia Group, cryptocurrency trading app OKX and digital brokerage GCEX recently announced their launch in Dubai after receiving provisional virtual asset licenses from VARA.
For its part, OKX has joined its global peer-to-peer exchanges to move its regional headquarters to Dubai. At the same time, Fintonia plans to expand its team in Dubai and provide tailored cash and balance management services to token foundations, protocols, Bitcoin miners and other large digital asset holders. , the company said.
Putting the regulatory puzzle together With VARA and VAL, Dubai is now at the forefront of the virtual assets industry and continues to play a pivotal role in its growth, evolution and regulatory future.
Part of the political and regulatory puzzle, the Dubai Strategy and Metaverse and the Dubai Blockchain Strategy aim to position Dubai as a global hub for evolving technologies. The Dubai Blockchain Strategy is one of many initiatives with 24 blockchain use cases currently implemented across eight key industry sectors, including finance, education and real estate.
The sector has seen an increase in institutional and individual capital. Within digital assets, the cryptocurrency market is growing particularly rapidly. According to Chainalysis, total trading volume grew to $ 15.8 trillion in 2021, an increase of 567% over 2020 totals. Research firm Technavio expects the size of the global NFT market to grow by 147. $ 24 billion between 2021 and 2026 at a CAGR of 35.27%.
With many of Web3’s leaders and emerging start-ups moving to Dubai, the city also attracts the world’s brightest talent in this field.
The virtual asset ecosystem in Dubai The emirate hosts three free zones dedicated to the Web3 and crypto ecosystem: the Dubai World Trade Center (DWTC), the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) and the Dubai Multi Commodities (DMCC Crypto).
DMCC Executive Chairman and CEO Ahmed bin Sulayem said, “Digital assets are playing an increasingly important role in DMCC’s mandate to lead commerce across Dubai. Today it is home to more than 400 UAE crypto companies – more than a third – the DMCC Crypto Center offers a complete ecosystem to facilitate the development and adoption of cryptographic and blockchain technologies. “
Being a relatively new free zone established in 2015, DWTCA’s regulatory and competitive operating environment is designed to facilitate the growth of the virtual resource ecosystem in Dubai. VARA, responsible for licensing and regulating the virtual assets industry in the mainland and in the territories of the Dubai Free Zone (excluding DIFC), is connected to the DWTC Authority, which aims to become a dedicated area for regulated activities of virtual assets .
The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), the regulator of the DIFC free zone, oversees the regulation of investment tokens, but does not regulate any other type of crypto assets, including cryptocurrencies, virtual assets or digital assets.
Hub for high-potential and forward-looking companies Dubai’s position as an innovation hub linking East and West allows it to offer unparalleled access to the world’s fastest growing economies.
A traditional global financial center, Dubai is well equipped as a secure and highly regulated conduit for billions of dollars of transactions between East and West.
Dubai now also hosts major industry events such as ETHDubai and Binance Blockchain Week, which saw hundreds of international Web3 entrepreneurs, experts and enthusiasts participate in fireside chats and group discussions in March of this year.
Scheduled at the Museum of the Future in September this year, the Dubai Metaverse Assembly will bring together regional and international experts in Dubai. Over 300 global experts, policy makers, thought leaders and decision makers from over 40 organizations will explore how breakthrough Metaverse technology can be implemented in vital areas to create a better future and quality of life for humanity.
With Dubai now home to a large community of innovative start-ups shaping the future of finance, it has embarked on a new mission to conquer the new economic frontier. Its continued technological advancements and infrastructure investments are expected to maintain its status as the world capital of the Web3.
Translated by: Mervat Mahmoud.