As the adoption of blockchain technology accelerates, recent reports indicate that the remittance payments between Saudi Arabia and the UAE have surpassed $78 billion, securing their position among the top 30 largest global remittance corridors.
In 2022, the cryptocurrency industry faced significant challenges, including a decline of over $2 trillion in market capitalization and a loss of confidence. Additionally, the presence of bad actors and fraudulent practices further damaged the industry's reputation, resulting in only eight percent of Americans holding a positive view of cryptocurrencies. However, amidst these negative trends, there is still hope for the blockchain space. While some participants faced setbacks, dedicated players in the industry continued to develop, and certain regions, such as the UAE and the Middle East, emerged as supportive environments for cryptocurrencies.
Blockchain is booming in the UAE
The UAE is experiencing a booming blockchain industry, supported by a series of government initiatives and favorable regulations.
Recent reports indicate that remittance payments between Saudi Arabia and the UAE have surpassed $78 billion, placing them among the top 30 global remittance corridors.
The UAE government has been proactive in promoting blockchain technology, with initiatives such as the Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021, which aims to digitize government transactions, the Dubai blockchain strategy to establish Dubai as a leading blockchain-powered city, and the Dubai metaverse strategy to develop a robust virtual economy.
Dubai and the UAE have created a conducive environment for cryptocurrency and blockchain businesses, thanks to their progressive regulatory authorities and finance regulations. While some countries are struggling to regulate or ban crypto trading, the UAE is emerging as a crypto-friendly hub. The region has attracted over 8,000 active individuals in the Web3 space, and prominent companies like Crypto.com, Binance, and The Hashgraph Association are thriving in the area.
To further support the adoption of decentralized finance and blockchain startups, The Hashgraph Association has partnered with Orange, a telecommunications company, while Hedera's grant program plans to expand into the UAE through Hashgraph Ventures based in ADGM (Abu Dhabi Global Market). Additionally, the UAE is witnessing significant collaborations with large enterprises to advance the blockchain industry and foster innovation in the region.
The growing presence of The Hashgraph Association in UAE
The UAE has been recognized as the second most attractive destination for digital sector professionals to relocate, according to Boston Consulting Group. Major cities in the UAE, including Abu Dhabi and Dubai, have been listed among the top 10 cities for sourcing digital talent. Kamal Youssefi, president of the board of The Hashgraph Association, highlighted the appeal of the UAE for blockchain companies, citing its innovative regulatory framework, talented workforce, and diverse community.
"The UAE's innovative regulatory framework, strong talent base, and diverse community make it an attractive destination for blockchain companies."
He also mentioned that Dubai has become a crucial hub for supporting activities in the region and expanding the adoption of the Hedera Hashgraph ecosystem in the Middle East. The governing council of Hedera Hashgraph includes renowned institutions such as Google, Dell, IBM, Boeing, Chainlink Labs, Deutsche Telekom, EDF, LG Electronics, Ubisoft, and University College London, among others.
The UAE's ambition to become the world's first blockchain-powered city requires powerful technology capable of accommodating large-scale adoption. The growing number of blockchain-based businesses in the region will contribute to this goal. Dubai's adoption of blockchain technology encompasses not only technical aspects but also regulatory frameworks, partnerships, and ecosystem development.
Youssefi emphasized that Hedera was designed with enterprise and government use cases in mind, which is why it is governed by a collective of leading technology, finance, and educational institutions. In addition to being selected by the DIFC courts and collaborating with major telecoms provider Zain, Hedera has also welcomed Zain into its governing council.
Despite the bearish market conditions, Youssefi is not the only advocate for industry growth in the region. The UAE's blockchain ambitions extend beyond trade finance, as demonstrated by the government of Abu Dhabi's launch of a metaverse gaming initiative. Scholars predict significant growth in digital collectibles, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and play-and-earn games within the blockchain gaming sector in 2023.
Hedera has already witnessed the launch of a Web3 game development initiative by Animoca Brands and the introduction of a new competition feature in the popular online battle royale game, Apex Legends, through an EA-licensed eSports platform built on Hedera by former Amazon and Meta developers. Youssefi highlighted the role of Hedera's low fees, rapid transaction times, and fast finality in facilitating the growth of gaming projects. He expressed optimism about the continued expansion of blockchain applications in the Middle East, particularly in areas such as DeFi, gaming, and trade finance.
Improving user experience (UX) is another area that Youssefi expects to see advancements in the coming months. He emphasized the importance of making self-custody easier for the average user and designing the Hedera platform to be as accessible as possible for developers to build decentralized applications (dApps) without the need to learn new languages.
With significant developments across various sectors in the blockchain space and notable government initiatives in thriving countries like the UAE, the outlook for the industry in 2023 and beyond appears promising.
Nes Source: Khaleej Times