UAE RAK DAO, Ras Al Khaimah Digital Assets Oasis, has attracted Indian and Chinese Web3 Blockchain entities as it licensed 100 digital asset and Blockchain licenses. According to the press release, RAK DAO has issued the most licenses to Indian companies, 15% to be exact. Following closely is China.

These global entrepreneurs not only leverage RAK DAO’s strategic location in the UAE but also tap into its comprehensive ecosystem of services meticulously crafted to meet their evolving needs. From blockchain, digital assets, and AI services to consulting, RAK DAO equips its licensees with the essential tools and support required for success in the digital asset era. With the majority of companies registering with RAK DAO being global web3 and blockchain entities, the ecosystem fosters a thriving environment for cutting-edge innovation and technological advancement.

DAO Hive, the innovative business center unveiled by RAK DAO, is offering flexible membership packages for entrepreneurs to flourish in a collaborative environment with state-of-the-art amenities and networking opportunities.

“As we celebrate this remarkable milestone of issuing over 100 licences in well under a year, we reaffirm our commitment to driving innovation and fostering growth within the global web3 and blockchain sector,” says Dr. Sameer Al Ansari, CEO of RAK DAO.

He adds, “DAO Hive stands as a testament to our vision of creating a dynamic ecosystem where pioneering ideas converge and businesses thrive. This achievement not only underscores the success of RAK DAO but also reflects the resilience and dynamism of Ras Al Khaimah’s business landscape. We are proud to be at the forefront of shaping the future of the web3 industry, offering global entrepreneurs unparalleled opportunities to flourish within DAO Hive and beyond.”

RAK DAO has signed many partnerships with blockchain and digital asset entities since its launch, the latest being with BlockLogica.

According to WAM news agency, as part of UAE’s Central Bank 50th anniversary, His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the Presidential Court and Chairman of the Board of the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE), made the first ever CBDC, digital currency cross border payment transaction to China utilizing the Mbridge Blockchain platform.

This amounts to a $13.6 million transaction sent directly to China through the ‘BIS M Bridge’ platform DLT.

Prior to this, The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) and the People’s Bank of China signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) to enhance technical and technological cooperation in the development of central bank digital currencies (CBDC), going beyond initial collaboration on mBridge CBDC project.

In September 2023, during a speech given by Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) CEO Eddie Yue, he discussed the whole sale CBDC ( Central Bank Digital Currency) project Mbridge stating that the launch of a minimal viable product ( MVP) would be soon, with participation of UAE Central Bank, Bank of China, BIS, Bank of Thailand and some new entrants.

The UAE Central Bank officials had called for a comprehensive regulatory framework for central digital currencies that would facilitate, accelerate and reduce the cost of cross border monetary operations.

R3 was chosen by UAE Central Bank as its technology partner to design and build a CBDC for the first phase of the central bank’s CBDC project because it is a permissioned based DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) that decentralize assets privately and works well in regulated industries, but more importantly is its interoperability and asset fluidity.

Sheikh Mansour also witnessed the graduation of the first batch of 1,056 citizens from the ‘Ethraa’ program, who completed a high-level training and qualification program at the Emirates Institute of Finance.

The ceremony showcased the progress and development journey that the CBUAE has witnessed over 50 years, during which the apex bank has contributed to strengthening financial and monetary stability and driving the wheel of economic growth in the UAE. This is in addition to launching a package of innovative projects implemented by the Central Bank’s subsidiaries within the Financial Infrastructure Transformation Program (FIT program) to accelerate the digital transformation in the financial services sector as part of a wider strategy aimed at enabling the CBUAE to be among the top central banks globally.

The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) and the People’s Bank of China has signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) to enhance technical and technological cooperation in the development of central bank digital currencies (CBDC), going beyond initial collaboration on mBridge CBDC project.

As per the UAE Central Bank press release, the signings will enhance the strategic partnership between the two friendly nations and expand the bilateral relations in the financial and economic fields.

His Excellency Khaled Mohamed Balama, Governor of CBUAE, and His Excellency Pan Gongsheng, Governor of the People’s Bank of China, signed the MOU in Hong Kong in presence of the UAE Counsel General in Hong Kong, H.E. Shaikh Saoud Ali Almualla.

The CBDC MoU aims to enhance collaboration central bank digital currency development and strengthen cooperation between CBUAE and the Digital Currency Institute of the People’s Bank of China in the field of financial technology. The MoU will enable the exchange of information on best practices and regulations relating to digital currencies and support the implementation of joint initiatives and projects, including the “mBridge” project which is a multi central bank digital currencies platform in facilitating cross-border trade payments instantly and securely.

The MoU also includes cooperation in training and skills development for specialists on both sides and the exchange of bilateral visits to discuss matters of common interest.

Commenting on the signing, H.E Khaled Mohamed Balama, Governor of CBUAE, stated, “We look forward to strengthening cooperation with our partners on innovation and solutions in financial technology including central bank digital currency to support the growth of our economy and society.”

Earlier,according to a Chinese media article, the Bank of China announced during The 3rd “Belt and Road” Summit Forum a list of 369 practical cooperation projects of which was an MOU signed with FAB bank of cooperation in digital currency.

Concurrently Standard Chartered announced its participation in the pilot testing program of China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) known as the digital Yuan (e-CNY or digital RMB). This move makes Standard Chartered the first foreign bank to engage with the country’s CBDC. According to the announcement, Standard Chartered, in collaboration with City Bank Clearing Services Co, will facilitate e-CNY transactions for its clients. It will allow them to purchase exchange and redeem e-CNY within their bank accounts.

 It is noteworthy that Standard Chartered’s backed digital asset platform, Zodia markets, received an In-Principle Approval (IPA) fulfilling the pre-requisites to receive a Financial Services Permission (FSP) for OTC broker-dealer in virtual assets by Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Abu Dhabi’s international financial center.

Standard Chartered’s , venture arm SC Ventures, an innovation and fintech investment arm recently partnered with Japanese SBI Holdings to establish a Digital Asset Joint Venture investment company in UAE. The parties intend to capitalize the vehicle with $100 million. The company will invest in DeFi, tokenization, consumer payments and metaverse.

According to a recent Chinese media article, the Bank of China announced during The 3rd “Belt and Road” Summit Forum a list of 369 practical cooperation projects of which was an MOU signed with FAB bank of cooperation in digital currency.

The 32nd project listed cited, “Bank of China signed a digital currency cooperation memorandum with the First Bank of Abu Dhabi, and signed a global strategic cooperation memorandum with the Saudi International Electric Power and Water Company. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the Hungarian Ministry of Economic Development signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation.”

UAE FAB bank, (First Abu Dhabi Bank), recently announced the successful completion of its J.P Morgan’s Coin blockchain based cross border payments.

This comes as China and the UAE work together on the CBDC Mbridge project which is supposed to launch its MVP (Minimum viable Product) form soon.

In addition the Central Bank of the UAE is also preparing for its on CBDC issuance which is expected sometime in 2024. The Central Bank of UAE as well as The Saudi Central Bank SAMA are working both with R3 on their CBDC projects.

China’s Bitcoin crypto mining and Blockchain hardware manufacturer, Canaan, has signed a crypto mining agreement with Oman’s Green Data city to pilot phase of a new crypto mining operation in Oman.

The new site will be installed in the facility of Green Data City, and under the agreement, Canaan has the option to expand the total capacity to up to 100MW.

The crypto mining operations in Oman will start in Q4 of 2023.

In August 2023 Oman’s Green Data City and Abu Dhabi’s Phoenix Group signed an agreement to develop a 150MW crypto-mining farm in Oman. The new farm will be set up in Green Data City was noted that it will be operational by Q2 2024, becoming one of the largest crypto-mining data centers in the region.

Phoenix Group is experienced in the development, operation, and management of crypto data centers. It is also the exclusive distributor of industry-leading mining equipment, MicroBT.

Oman was chosen as a location due to the long-term security provided by the Green Data City mining license, the entities’ common vision to develop cryptocurrencies mining and AI applications with the Ministry of Transport, Communication and IT (MTCIT), and the cooler weather in Oman, in particular in the region of Dhofar, which reduces the cooling energy consumption to a minimum, making the sultanate a sustainable destination for mining in the region.

The deployment will start with the new Avalon Box mining container featuring immersion cooling. The project also has the potential to deploy Canaan’s other advanced products, including the latest series A14 Avalon miners with a record efficiency of 20J/T, later in

Green Data City LLC is the company that operates the first license for sustainable crypto-mining in Oman since 2022. International mining companies can register and operate in Green Data City with long term agreements. The first phase of development consists of 200MW of mining capacity, the second phase will reach 400MW hyperscale data center capacity with natural cooling, renewable energies and downstream applications.

In a speech given by Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) CEO Eddie Yue, he discussed the whole sale CBDC ( Central Bank Digital Currency) project Mbridge stating that the launch of a minimal viable product ( MVP) would be soon, with participation of UAE Central Bank, Bank of China, BIS, Bank of Thailand and some new entrants.

In May 2023, The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority in a bilateral meeting in Abu Dhabi  agreed to enhance collaboration between the two jurisdictions on virtual asset regulations and development. 

Mbridge is the creation of  Innovation Hub of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, BIS (Bank of International Settlements). In September 2022, the Central Bank of the UAE announced the completion of the first CBDC pilot involving real value transactions and four jurisdictions, using mBridge, custom developed DLT platform.

As per the news 20 banks participated in the final CBDC pilot, with over 160 transfers and FX exchanges carried out, totaling $171 million HK dollars ( $22 million)  in transfers and FX exchanges and $91 HK million in issuances equivalent to ( $12 million) .”

The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) participated in “mBridge” project with partners from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), Innovation Hub Centre in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the Bank of Thailand (BoT), and the Digital Currency Institute of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC).

According to Yue, “ Our mBridge project, which is a collaboration with the BIS and a number of central banks including the People’s Bank of China is also pressing ahead. Our latest pilot test has demonstrated that this wholesale central bank digital currency platform can speed up cross-border payments at reduced cost and with better transparency. We are expecting to welcome more fellow central banks to join this open platform. And very soon we will launch what we call a minimum viable product, with the aim of paving the way for the gradual commercialisation of mBridge.”

He expressed his hope that this new innovative platform will help resolve longstanding pain points in cross-border payments and enhance the efficiency of the global value chain.

One of China’s biggest entertainment companies, WanTing Group, will be opening its venue in the GCC, with VISION in November 2022. The night club will located at The H Hotel Dubai, VISION will be the first night club build around the metaverse, where payments can be made in crypto and NFTs can be used and bought. It will also be  the only nightclub in the world to achieve cross-border collaboration with the famed Jacob&Co brand with the launch of the VISION x Jacob&Co wristwatch.

Club-goers and crypto-owners will be able to turn coins into cocktails and enjoy a plethora of exclusive benefits at the venue, with NFTs also available for purchase and for use.

Further elevating the guest experience, VISION will launch in partnership with Jacob&Co, the renowned luxury jewellery and wristwatch brand, to create exclusive VISION x Jacob&Co timepieces, that will be available to those who purchase the venue’s unique NFTs. An exclusive branded VIP table will also be established at VISION along with other Jacob&Co elements.

The ambiance at VISION exudes opulence set in a futuristic space, featuring laser beams and LED lights that radiate through the entire venue. Guests can look forward to visionary décor and entrancing techno beats blended with Hip-Hop and Pop favourites that are sure to transform any night into an other-worldly experience. Situated at the luxurious H Hotel Dubai, VISION will be an extraordinary destination with a vibrant dancefloor as well as options for intimate, private booths and rooms for VIP clientele.              

Chris Wang, Chief Executive Officer of VISION and Hang Zhou WanTing Catering & Entertainment Management Co., stated, “We are extremely excited to be launching our first venue in the region in Dubai. There is so much potential in the Middle East in terms of nightlife entertainment, and we look forward to presenting a celestial nightlife experience for guests and clients with VISION. At the venue, we plan to provide club-goers space to connect through light and sound, turning their evenings into a stellar visual and audio haven.”

Saudi Arabian Taajeer Group, the exclusive agent for MG cars in the Kingdom has utilized the Blockchain enabled Contour platform in its importing of cars from China. HSBC, Chinese SAIC Motor, and KSA Taajeer group executed a successful blockchain enabled trade finance transaction on the Contour platform.

As per the news this is a regional first for the automotive sector and a first in KSA.

Contour is a digital trade finance network that is building a global standard for trade by bringing together the world’s banks, corporates and ecosystem partners, onto a common, digital, and trusted network.

The Contour platform enabled end-to-end digitisation of the credit documentation required for Taajeer to import a shipment of cars from SAIC in a process that is up to 10 times faster than using physical documents. 

Chaker Zeraiki, Head of Global Trade & Receivables Finance for HSBC UAE, said: “Our digitising at scale means making customers’ lives easier and, with Contour it means we’re cutting costs, reducing risk and speeding up trade. Bringing these benefits to the automotive sector and Saudi Arabia are a measure of our international connectivity and our global leadership in trade banking.”

Trade finance powers much of global trade and, according to HSBC, distributed ledger technology has the potential to reduce transaction times from between five and ten days to under 24 hours, therefore unlocking working capital and enabling more trade to be conducted between markets.

Carl Wegner, CEO of Contour said: “This transaction marks an important milestone in the Middle East’s automotive sector, proving that distributed ledger technology is successfully transforming the trade finance ecosystem. We are excited about the potential of wider adoption in this sector, as having a digital trade solution is no longer an option, but the new standard for the industry.”

The use of Contour’s platform also makes the transactions more secure as data shared on the network are indisputable and transparent, reducing the risk of fraud.

Tom Lee, Managing Director of MG Motor Middle East, owned by the SAIC Group, said: “It brings me great joy to continue to offer ‘best-in-class’ service through an integrated supply-chain programme that can make our operations even more seamless. With HSBC as our partner, we will proactively provide solutions to ensure our customers’ demands are met safely and on schedule. I believe that our bright future is filled with opportunities and our customers can rest assured they will be met with consistent high-quality supply from us, anytime and anywhere in the Middle East region.”

The transaction is also a first in Saudi Arabia where, according to David Leslie, General Manager of the Trade Finance Business at SABB, increased digitisation is aligned to the Vision 2030 initiative to make the Kingdom a regional trade hub. “Blockchain can significantly reduce friction and increase the pace of trade for companies trading with Saudi Arabian entities.”