The tallest skyscrapers in the world, luxe living, and amazing views are what make Dubai one of the world’s leading destinations. However, something few know is that it is also becoming one of the biggest blockchain operations center.
It all started in 2016 when the United Arab Emirates (UAE) adopted blockchain technology to conduct its transactions and launched the Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021 and Dubai Blockchain Strategy. The Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021 aimed to capitalize on blockchain technology to transform 50 percent of government transactions into the blockchain platform by 2021. The Dubai Blockchain Strategy aimed for Dubai to be the first city fully powered by blockchain.
The same year, Dubai formed the Global Blockchain Council, a body of work comprising government agencies, banks, and technology firms with one objective: implementing and scaling a, at the time, embryonic technology. Two years later, in 2018, Dubai piloted many groundbreaking blockchain projects with a vast range. They went from health and transportation sectors to municipal services and education. They also celebrated the first government-endorsed blockchain in the Middle East by partnering with IBM and Smart Dubai to identify cases in which using blockchain as an operating system for trust was ideal. The latter means looking across the entire government to uncover opportunities where blockchain could solve network problems that involve multiple entities that do not trust each other that otherwise would not be solved using traditional databases.
The joint venture implemented 24 use cases across eight industry sectors and launched the Dubai Blockchain Policy. Behind the power of the results is Smart Dubai, a government office in charge of facilitating the city’s smart transformation to empower and promote efficient, seamless, impactful city experience for visitors and residents.
Two years later, on December 11th, 2020, Sheik Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid, prince of Dubai, announced that the emirate achieved its objective and became the world’s first paperless government and met a huge milestone towards its purpose of becoming fully digitized.
In 2021 Dubai solidified its crypto-capital position by hosting the World Blockchain Summit, a global series of elite gatherings in 16+ destinations around the world. Its objective is to connect global blockchain gurus with regional businesses, IT leaders, government authorities, tech entrepreneurs, blockchain developers, and investors.
All these advances positioned Dubai, and the UAE, as one of the world’s most crypto-friendly cities in the world.
NFT’s: The Last Step
“…an NFT drop by the gods, for the gods”. That’s the description of Last Hopium, a project based out of Dubai that aims to use blockchain to bridge digital asset holders to big hotels like Hilton, Ritz, and Waldorf. It marks Dubai’s ongoing efforts to assist crypto development. Last Hopium is a unique NFT collection with over 10,000 NFT’s with real-world applications that focus on rewarding the holders; they will get exclusive offers and discounts on 5-star hotels worldwide, a real milestone for the crypto-ecosystem.
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, have stormed the world, and the UAE is no exception. According to a 2021 study, the percentage of persons in the UAE who hold NFTs is more than double the global average. And it’s not just a number, Dubai will hold 2022 its inaugural NFT art show, which will have 50 unique pieces by UAE artists, and it will commemorate the UAE’s 50th anniversary.
Last Hopium’s and 50/50 cases show that Dubai is home to an essential part of the crypto forefront community. It has over 1000 blockchain businesses, and its blockchain market has grown beyond 20% since 2018. It has published blockchain-related reports with organizations like the United Nations and the World Economic Forum (WEF), and it won the ‘First Smart City on the Blockchain’ award in the 2017 Barcelona Smart City Expo. Smart Dubai has also revealed that the Dubai Blockchain Strategy has had a crucial role in encouraging international Blockchain and Fintech firms like Atlas Capital to hold the World Blockchain Summit and Blockexpo.
Another successful crypto-innovation example is the partnership between Binance, the largest cryptocurrency trading platform in the world, with the Dubai World Trade Center Authority’s crypto center (DWTCA). The two entities signed a memorandum of understanding that promises an entire crypto zone in Dubai. Binance’s role will be to assist the YWCA in accelerating the establishment of a new industrial hub for virtual global assets. The goal of the crypto zone is to be part of Dubai’s aim to build an international digital asset ecosystem.
Dubai’s fast crypto adoption sets the standards for other countries and cities in terms of crypto full acceptance and accessibility.
By creating partnerships with both technology and crypto giants, the city is making significant strides towards mass crypto adoption, which will make it, and the UAE in general, the city leading the world’s crypto digital disruption.