This week Qatar made headlines in the Blockchain, crypto, NFT and metaverse scene on several fronts. While the CEO of Qatar  Sovereign Wealth Fund praised Blockchain but shunned crypto, Qatar’s Central Bank Governor stated that crypto assets are a technology innovation that will take us to a new era of fast accessible payments and financial services. Topping all this was Qatar Airways increased foray into the realm of the metaverse, and NFTs.

It seems that while the government of Qatar has yet to make up its mind on whether it wants to enter the era of cryptocurrencies, or whether they agree that crypto will have to be dealt with at one point or another, they are taking steps towards integrating elements of blockchain and CBDC into their strategies.During the Qatar Economic Forum Qatar Central Bank Governor Bandar Bin Mohammed Bin Saoud Al Thani admitted that Qatar is in the foundation stage of investigating a central bank Digital Currency (CBDC). As he noted, “Many central banks are now considering issuing CBDC, and we are not an exception to that. We are evaluating the pros and cons of issuing the CBDC and to find the proper and the right technology and the platform to issue.”He then noted, “Crypto assets are a technology innovation, and in my view it might take us to a new era of fast accessible payment and financial services.  “Those crypto assets which are not underlying by assets or monetary authority might be less credible.”

On the other hand Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund CEO Mansoor Al Mahmoud revealed that the wealth fund has no interest in investing in Bitcoin, but is still very much interested in exploring blockchain.

He was noted as saying, “Our team in the technology space is exploring opportunities in the blockchain,” Al Mahmoud said in an interview. He adds “This is the space that we’re interested in, not the currency itself.”

In the midst of these discussions Qatar Airways expressed its intention to include the purchase of tickets for physical flights through the QVerse metaverse, and the incorporation of NFTs. 

All this comes while the FIFA World Cup 2022 has partnered with the likes of crypto.com and Algorand Blockchain, and crypto exchange CoinMENA announces it is servicing clients in Qatar through its license in Bahrain. 

Qatar at one point will have to come to grips with the fact that with blockchain the metaverse and digitization comes digital assets, whether they are called cryptocurrencies, crypto assets, virtual assets, tokens or NFTs.

For example if Qatar were to utilize blockchain in the energy sector, and work with companies such as PermianChain which is tokenizing natural resources such as flared gas, and if they wanted to utilize PermianChain’s energy token marketplace, they would at some point need to use the DEC Token to optimize their experience. Tokens and Blockchain go hand in hand despite attempts to de-couple them.

One cannot implement blockchain, invest in blockchain nor create a CBDC to be held in digital wallets, without addressing the elephant in the room which is crypto and or digital asset. So instead of being the black sheep of the GCC Crypto hype, wouldn’t it be better if Qatar was the winning stallion.

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