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Crypto Oasis smashes Blockchain ambition in the UAE

Blockchain is high on the agenda at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann
Blockchain is high on the agenda at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos

The United Arab Emirates has set a new goal to attract 1,500 Blockchain-related entities by the end of 2022, after achieving its initial target of 1,000 seven months early.

In January 2020, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) announced a partnership with Switzerland’s Crypto Valley to develop the Blockchain sector in the UAE.

The Crypto Oasis was subsequently launched in May 2021, with a target to sign up 1,000 Blockchain-related companies by the end of 2022.

While the Swiss Crypto Valley took seven years to get to 1,000 organisations, the Dubai spin-off achieved the target in one year, seven months ahead of schedule, and has now increased the target to 1,500 by the end of 2022.

“The UAE is leading the way with the early adoption of Blockchain technology with industry-friendly changes in legislation,” said Vineet Budki, managing partner of Cypher Capital, a UAE-based private venture capital firm which in March launched a $100 million seed fund focused on investments in Blockchain, crypto and other digital asset projects, and is currently building a 10,000 square foot hub in Dubai for Blockchain and crypto startups.

“[The UAE] is fast establishing itself as the international capital for the industry.”

The 1,000 companies that are part of the Crypto Oasis ecosystem are divided into two types: native and non-native organisations.

Native organisations are those whose primary focus is on Blockchain services and account for 53 percent of the 1,000 entities, while the remaining 47 percent are referred to as non-native Blockchain organisations which offer services or products related to Blockchain but do not have Blockchain as their primary focus.

Ralf Glabischnig, a founder of Crypto Oasis, said of the early milestone: “The first months of 2022 have already shown that the key pillars of growing and building the ecosystem are talent, capital and infrastructure.

“We believe we are still at an early stage but with the speed of development and growth that we see day-by-day across the community in this region, we look forward to further advancing the Blockchain economy in the Middle East.”

The achievement is a sign of the growing importance of Blockchain and cryptocurrencies among the UAE business community.

The DMCC last month reported that it had registered 665 companies during the first quarter of 2022, a 13 percent year-on-year increase, with 16 percent of them involved in crypto-related activities.

“The number of Blockchain businesses is a great achievement for the UAE, and an obvious result for embracing the Blockchain technology at an early stage,” said Patrick Prinz, managing director of the Bitcoin Association, which is hosting the BSV Global Blockchain Convention in Dubai this week.

“The government announced back in 2018 the Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021, with an aim to transform 50 percent of government transactions into the blockchain platform by 2021. Education and regulations are key for a healthier ecosystem,”