Authorities in Dubai released the details of the region’s Metaverse Strategy on July 18, 2022, revealing a plan to add $4 billion to the city’s economy from its metaverse innovation push and become one of the top 10 cities in the global metaverse economy ranking by 2027.
Fostering Innovative Technologies
In a tweet, Dubai’s crown prince, Hamdan bin Mohammed, revealed the objectives, pillars, and goals of the city’s Metaverse Strategy, stating that the intent of the blueprint is to promote the growth of innovative technologies in the city.
The announcement revealed that Dubai presently houses over 1,000 companies in the blockchain and metaverse sector and contributes $500M to the economy. It further related that these numbers are expected to increase to 5,000 and $4 billion, respectively in the next five years. The plan also includes supporting 40,000 virtual jobs through the metaverse.
Setting a goal to rank in the metaverse economy category as number 1 in the region and among the top ten cities globally, the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), set up pillars on which to actualize this massive metaverse dream.
The listed pillars include fostering metaverse innovation and economic contribution; cultivating metaverse talent through education and training; and developing metaverse use-cases and applications in the government.
This strategy is not surprising, considering the city’s embrace of digital asset innovation through amenable regulation and support over the years.
Dubai’s Activated Strategy
Although recently released, the strategy might be already underway, judging from the crypto activities happening in the area. The city’s apparent friendly and non-stifling hybrid approach towards crypto regulation had Bybit and Crypto.com relocate their headquarters to Dubai recently, as they recognize the city as an enabling environment for their company’s growth and expansion.
At the time, the COO of Crypto.com, Eric Anziani, noted that “… the UAE is diversifying its industries and trying to be bold and create industries.”
The harsh regulatory environment in European regions, the US, and others could drive more crypto networks into Dubai, as the UAE is already issuing licenses and allowing bitcoin miners to continue their businesses.
The enabling atmosphere for crypto-related activities in Dubai is further revealed in the acceptance of fees’ payment in Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) by the ‘Citizens School’ in Dubai and the slating of the first international conference on Metaverses, ‘Cyber Future 22:22’ on September 5, 2022, in Dubai. The conference is expected to have over 1,000 participants from 32 countries.
More recently, Hex Trust, the Hong Kong-based and Asia’s leading provider of bank-grade digital asset custody, secured provisional approval from the government of Dubai to obtain a Virtual Asset MVP License. This leads to establishing a headquarters in Dubai and promoting digital asset innovation in the area.
Dubai is clearly leading in the field of digital assets in the Middle East’s growth as a hotbed for blockchain-focused businesses, and this stance is further backed by the enactment, ‘Regulating Virtual Assets in the Emirate of Dubai’ by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, which was released on February 28, 2022, and became effective on March 11, 2022.
The enactment established Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), which serves as a legal framework for virtual asset businesses, including non-fungible tokens (NFTs).