UAE Inaugurated a Blockchain Oasis for Visionary Companies
by Oskar Trotman
Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi presided over the launch of RAK Digital Asset Oasis on Thursday in the United Arab Emirates. The project aims to function as an ecosystem for blockchain and other technology oriented companies.
“When we embarked on this journey, our vision was to create a hub where digital assets could thrive, innovation could flourish, and groundbreaking ideas could come to light,” said Sheikh Saud at the opening ceremony.
The Arabian Peninsula is becoming a hot spot for innovation after several regional countries started to diversify their oil-centric economies. Tourism and technology are the two strategies embraced as future pillars of the economy, and the UAE is merging both sectors by selecting Ras Al Khaimah, an important cultural city, as the location for its new free zone, which will host companies focusing on developing blockchain technology solutions and nurturing a Web3 ecosystem.
Potential Tech Heaven for Emerging Companies
The RAK Digital Asset Oasis offers several benefits to businesses working with emerging technologies such as the blockchain, non-fungible tokens, metaverse, virtual asset wallets, and other Web3 concepts.
The entrepreneurs will be able to retain full ownership of their companies and will benefit from special regulation and separate tax schemes, profit repatriation and no individual income tax. More importantly, grant programs will become available to fund research and development.
On the financial side of the project, several partners have already been recruited, such as the Rakbank and the HBAR Foundation. Additionally, businesses that plan to put down roots or migrate some of their operations to Ras Al Khaimah can expect to receive support in the form of marketing strategies and guidance for business development. But equally crucial is the technological assistance offered to startups or established companies willing to migrate to the free zone.
New Step to Retain an Edge Over Its Neighbors
The UAE is not the first country from the region to turn to technology as a means to broaden its economic prospects. However, it might have an advantage over its neighbors, considering its bigger cities Dubai and Abu Dhabi have already attracted several crypto firms. Dubai was among the first to introduce a virtual assets law and protect investors by establishing the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority.
A few global companies responded to the positive legal landscape by acquiring licenses in 2022 to operate in Dubai. The most prominent brands opening shops in Dubai were Binance, OKX, and Crypto.com.
The free zone project in the UEA started to take shape in March after Sheikh Saud decreed the establishment of RAK DAO. The legislation offers legislative and financial freedom to the free zone. The goal was to create a zone for enabling innovation in the metaverse, virtual asset wallets, NFTs, and other Web3-related companies to thrive and in turn diversify the UAE economy.
The RAK DAO is not the first free zone in the country. More than 40 multidisciplinary free zones offer foreign investors full ownership of companies while working in a favorable business climate.