In a world where the technological landscape is evolving at a breakneck pace, Dubai has positioned itself as a global leader by embracing the revolution brought by emerging technologies such as blockchain. Unlike many other jurisdictions globally where cryptocurrency is viewed with scepticism and little support, Dubai has taken a different approach — one that pushes for proactive regulation, friendly policies and integration of crypto seamlessly into its broader technology and innovation ecosystem. Through this approach it is developing a tech hub that is fast being recognised across the globe and also as a model to create similar hubs in other destinations globally
Recently, Dubai hosted a remarkable tech festival — Gitex, which was the 43rd edition of this event. GITEX Global is the world’s largest tech show, scaling even bigger this year across two mega venues, Dubai World Trade Centre & Dubai Harbour — covering a ground-breaking 41 halls of exhibition space, housing tech powerhouses & revolutionary startups within AI, Cybersecurity, Mobility, Sustainable Tech and many more. . The event not only celebrated emerging technologies but also showcased the seamless integration of cryptocurrency into the city’s innovation landscape. It featured multiple different companies showcasing their products and services in the tech space from AI to IOT, cloud, EdTech and blockchain, metaverse, cyber securities and crypto.
Image credit: Gitex Global
Image credit: Gitex Global
Image credit: Coingeek
“Rather than isolating crypto in its own niche, Dubai has woven it into the very fabric of its technological future. This approach is indicative of the Emirate’s unique position as a global hub for both business and innovation, and here’s why it’s drawing attention as the place where crypto is being taken seriously,” says CEO and Founder of boutique PR and Investor relations firm Cassiopeia Services and multi-award winning platform FinancialFox.
“Creating a hub that fosters innovation and provides the various infrastructures to ensure growth particularly for digital assets, in other countries at this stage is only discussion. The promise appears great, however, Dubai is making it happen,” adds Stefania.
One of the standout features of Dubai’s approach to crypto is the active involvement of key stakeholders. Company founders, regulators, and government agencies, including free zones and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, all had a notable presence at the event. This marked a departure from the norm, as crypto and blockchain conferences in most other parts of the world typically lack engagement from regulatory bodies and government agencies. Dubai’s inclusive approach is creating a real dialogue to drive the industry forward, fostering an environment where innovation can flourish.
“As the crypto industry’s demands for clear regulation in the United States are met with a slew of lawsuits from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the UAE has emerged as a viable alternative. It’s situated in proximity to Northern Africa, Asia and Europe. Dubai is not just a travel destination for those seeking a beach vacation, but also fosters global networking and collaboration. The city is the host of GITEX (Gulf Information Technology Exhibition), which is seen as the leading tech conference globally that features blockchain and Web3 as two of its 18 focus areas. This year alone crypto has its own hall at the event,” adds Stefania Barbaglio, CEO of FinancialFox and bespoke investor relations PR agency Cassiopeia.
Dubai is ahead of the curve when it comes to the regulation of digital assets. Organisations like VARA, DMCC, and DIFC actively engaged with businesses to explain their digital asset licensing offerings. This proactive stance in regulating and fostering innovation sets Dubai apart as a pioneer in the crypto world.
In February 2023, the SCA, the UAE’s federal securities regulator, took over the regulation and supervision of the cryptocurrency sector earlier this year. From 17 April 2023, the SCA also started accepting applications from companies intending to provide cryptocurrency services within the country. Additionally VARA Regulations set out a comprehensive Virtual Asset framework. Then there’s also the ADGM and the DIFC which are financial free zones in the UAE with independent jurisdictions exempted from the UAE’s civil and commercial laws. For founders looking for a place to register a new business, both are great jurisdictions to choose from. The DIFC was established in 2002.
Dubai’s appeal goes beyond regulatory initiatives. The Emirate has long been an attractive destination for businesses looking for tax relief, but it offers much more than that. It provides a welcoming environment for crypto businesses, making it a standout destination for innovators and entrepreneurs. In a world where heavy-handed regulation often drives talent and investment elsewhere, Dubai’s approach is both refreshing and forward-thinking.
Education and proactive engagement with government agencies and regulators are often the missing pieces of the puzzle in other parts of the world. It’s recognized that digital assets are not all bad and the technology powering them is an important tech stack to make transactions more secure and efficient. Blockchain and digital assets hold great potential for society, the economy, and the consumer industry. Dubai’s open-minded approach positions the city as a global tech hub for companies and entrepreneurs to flourish; more companies, especially in Web 3, are establishing their headquarters there.
The world is changing rapidly, and the way we handle innovation and technology will shape our future. Dubai is at the forefront of this transformation, offering an environment where crypto and blockchain can thrive, a place where regulators and government agencies are active participants in the dialogue, not roadblocks.
Dubai is where crypto is being taken seriously, and it’s leading the way in understanding that embracing these technologies is not a threat but an opportunity for society, the economy, and the future of innovation. As other countries take note of Dubai’s approach, we can only hope to see more adopting this proactive stance to foster innovation and technological advancement. If you are keen to explore opportunities in Dubai, please get in touch.