Abu Dhabi has signaled a clear intention to improve its Web3 ecosystem, taking a step away from its dependency on oil and tourism. The latest move is the city’s initiative to trigger Web3 growth with a keen focus on metaverse and blockchain technology.
The Hub71+Digital Assets project is backed by a $2 billion fund earmarked explicitly for startups dabbling in blockchain projects in the city. The latest initiative will offer local Web3 startups several services, including technological, legal, and corporate support.
Speaking on the launch of the program, appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the city’s tech ecosystem Hub71, Ahmad Ali Alwan, noted that the move “represents Abu Dhabi’s openness to disruptive businesses that drive change and transformation on a global scale.”
“Decentralization is the future of the blockchain-based internet, and Web3 startups will play a significant role in accelerating this transition,” added Alwan.
Hub71+Digital Assets will be based in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), a free-trade zone and the financial nerve center of the city. The scheme has also earned several strategic partners like First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) for research and innovation and blockchain infrastructure provider FABRIC.
“By collaborating with the ADGM, FAB, and FABRIC, in addition to leading Web3 companies and enablers, startups will have the opportunity to fundraise, develop, and commercialize innovations safely while operating within the largest regulated jurisdiction of virtual assets in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region,” said Alwan.
Another goal for the digital asset initiative is to attract global blockchain firms, especially startups with a market valuation of over $1 billion. With this initiative, Abu Dhabi closes its gap with Dubai in terms of digital asset developments within the United Arab Emirates.
The UAE is miles ahead of its neighbors
Among the nations of the Gulf, the UAE is head and shoulders above the rest in the digital currency space, fuelled by a flurry of developments. The government has taken an active approach to adopt blockchain, with giant strides being made in the metaverse and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
At the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani Al-Zeyoudi stated that the country is inching forward with a robust framework for digital currency regulation.
Dubai, an Emirate in the country, seized the initiative by creating a regulatory agency and a novel licensing regime to govern operators in the digital asset space. The city also disclosed its metaverse strategy, hoping to create over 40,000 jobs in virtual worlds before 2030.
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