arabian Emirati man holding a UAE flag

UAE adds new free-trade zone for digital asset firms

Ras Al Khaimah, one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates, has announced the impending launch of a free-trade zone for digital asset firms as it pulls clear from the rest of the pack in the Gulf region.

Dubbed the RAK Digital Assets Oasis, the free-trade zone is designed to be a hub for blockchain technology and Web3 firms to innovate in non-regulated activities in the digital currency space. Firms operating in the area will have the added perks of wholly owning their organizations with a lenient tax burden compared to other regions.

“We are building the free zone of the future for companies of the future,” said Sheikh Mohammed Al Qasimi, head of the RAK ICC. “As the world’s first free zone solely dedicated to digital and virtual asset companies, we look forward to supporting the ambitions of entrepreneurs around the world.”

Ras Al Khaimah’s new trade zone will only be open to firms dabbling in blockchain, especially the areas of decentralized finance (DeFi), decentralized applications (DApps), the metaversedigital wallets, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Companies operating in the RAK Digital Assets Oasis will receive support from the emirate’s government in the form of incubators, funding, regulatory compliance, and the provision of hybrid workspaces.

Applications for firms looking to set up shop in the free-trade zone will begin sometime in Q2 of 2022, with a preference for foreign firms. Ras Al Khaimah’s plan resonates with the UAE’s ambition to attract foreign direct investment in its digital asset industry, a leap from tourism.

“We look forward to welcoming the world’s brightest Web3 minds with their most disruptive ideas that uncover new approaches to creating a better future,” said Sheikh Qasimi. “We are committed to empowering the next generation of global entrepreneurial talent to build transformative solutions and create impact while shaping the future of businesses and economies.”

UAE places a premium on digital assets

The UAE has been making huge leaps in its quest to transform itself into the leading destination for global digital currency firms. The push, spearheaded by Dubai, has gained steam over the last year, with the country’s digital economy projected to climb by over $149 billion by 2031.

In line with the forecast, Dubai created a new digital currency legal framework in 2021, establishing a new licensing regime and an industry regulator. Under the operation of new legislation, several industry leaders like Binance and flocked to the emirate to set up their operations.

Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi has confirmed that the country is keen on attracting at least 300 digital firms within the next 12 months.

Watch: BSV Blockchain in Ras Al Khaimah With blockchain tech, the possibilities are endless

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