In an interesting move towards including digital assets into the wealth management value chain, DIFC Innovation Hub, global Swiss wealth management Julius Baer and Euroclear a financial infrastructure market firm, have come together to explore how family offices and HNWI ( High Net Worth Individuals) can best use technology to expand their digital asset portfolios as well as apply multi generation inheritance.

As per a press release, DIFC’s Innovation Hub experts will work closely with Julius Baer’s global innovation team and Euroclear’s innovation Centre of excellence for a three-month sprint that will result in a white paper detailing a future-oriented solution for succession planning relating tokenization applied to multi-generational inheritance. The analysis and subsequent findings will serve as a blueprint for other geographies looking to turn similar challenges into opportunities. 

It is estimated that AED 3.67trn (USD 1trn) in assets will be transferred to the next generation in the Middle East over the coming decade. However, only 24 per cent of High-Net-Worth Individuals have a full estate plan in place. Fast adoption of various digital asset classes by individuals and businesses also poses potential complexities to a seamless execution of estate plans currently in place. The DIFC Innovation Hub, Julius Baer and Euroclear collaboration will help bring tangible solutions to this global challenge.

Mohammad Alblooshi, Chief Executive Officer, DIFC Innovation Hub, commented, “The region is witnessing a trend of generational wealth being deployed across a variety of digital asset classes to diversify and future-proof their portfolios. By bringing together global leading entities across wealth management, financial services providers, tech disruptors and regulators, this newly launched innovation project will help transform one of the largest, underserved markets in the region and open doors to a more inclusive and tech enabled future for family businesses and the wealth management industry.”

Alireza Valizadeh, CEO, Julius Baer (Middle East) Ltd, added, “Generational wealth transfer is gaining momentum in the UAE, and we, as Julius Baer, are in a unique position to advise our clients having had our origins as a family business. On the occasion of Julius Baer’s 20-year anniversary in Dubai, I am hoping that this innovation project will showcase how we can work together to stay relevant to our future clients and provide a vision highlighting the evolution of the private banking industry especially with the onset of digital assets.”

Philippe Laurensy, Head of Group Strategy, Product Management and Innovation at Euroclear, noted, “As a trusted financial market infrastructure we have a strong commitment to collaborate with the market providing innovative solutions to our clients. We are extremely pleased to be working with DIFC Innovation Hub and Julius Baer on what we see as a transformative journey to address market gaps and create efficiencies by harnessing the power of tokenization. By validating and unlocking the benefits of smart contracts we have the potential to redefine the narrative of wealth management, creating solutions that could span generations.”

The DIFC Innovation Hub has been attracting as well more and more Blockchain, digital assets, Web3 companies from around the globe and locally.

Slowly but surely, the DIFC (Dubai International Financial Center) innovation hub has been welcoming Web3, Blockchain, AI entities and investor companies into their ecosystem. The DIFC Innovation Hub aims to have 500 entities by 2028.

So far they have welcomed in a dozen or more startups and investor partners. Most recently AI and Blockchain Company Mentat Technologies joined the AI &Web3 Campus. In November Mentat announced that it will develop an open source SAP connector and Enablement API to the Algorand blockchain.

Another company that has recently joined is Kodin Soft, which develops high tech software solution. The company is working on several projects including TELESCOPELIVE which empowers astrophotography and remote imaging allowing space enthusiasts to experience the night sky like never before.

Even Avail, a Blockchain project spun off of Polygon in 2023 aiming to handle data storage and verification for blockchains, which launched the data attestation bridge test net to secure data off-chain has joined. The bridge connected to Ethereum, and can be used by both zero-knowledge and optimistic rollups that use Ethereum as a base layer.

Avail aims to be a solution for layer 2s and 3s to publish data off-chain, to reduce the high transaction fees that often come from posting data on the main Ethereum blockchain.

Other companies joining include HoloFair, a metaverse platform. HoloFair facilitates seamless integration of gamification, e-commerce, and interactive elements, ensuring an immersive and data-rich metaverse experience.

Even AI startup Zarqa, incubated by SingularityNET, and specializing in Neural Symbolic Large Language Models (#LLMs) has come on board.. Leveraging engineering expertise, Zarqa pioneers the next generation of LLMs with scaled neural-symbolic AI, reflecting technical innovation and steadfast leadership.

CyberNet AI also joined the Dubai AI & Web3 Campus. Cybernet pioneers virtual voice robot services through a seamless SaaS model, featuring AIDOS, an Artificial Intelligence Dialog Operating System. Offering versatile applications in debt collection, NPS surveys, and telemarketing, Cybernet’s solution boasts an impressive 82% collection efficiency while reducing operational costs by 1.5 times.

Then there are the incubators and investors that have joined the AI Web3 campus at DIFC Innovation Hub. Metafour Labs has come in dedicated to elevating early-stage tech ventures specializing in blockchain, and Web3. The company provides strategic advisory services for successful launches and scaling.

Ibtikar a business consultancy firm for Web3 joined. While DIFC Innovation Hub and AI Web3 campus partnered with Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), MENA venture capital firm dedicated to supporting innovative tech companies in the Middle East.

In addition to those mentioned above many other entities have joined the Web3 AI Campus as DIFC issues commercial licenses at 90% subsidies.  DIFC aims towards having a vibrant ecosystem of DLT, AI, and Web3 entities.

According to DIFC, “The initiative aims to propel Dubai’s journey towards becoming a digital society, fostering collaboration, innovation, and global talent attraction.”

The AI and Web 3.0 Campus aspires to become the MENA region’s largest hub for AI and Web3 companies. With a goal of hosting over 500 high-tech companies by 2028, it envisions bringing in $300 million in funds and creating over 3,000 jobs within five years.

Mohammad Alblooshi, CEO of the DIFC Innovation Hub , states that these licenses will elevate Dubai’s position as a preferred destination for tech-focused companies, driving world-class talent and diversified investments to the region.

Maybe this is why South Korean game developer, Wemade, and UAE DIFC Innovation Hub partnered to build WEMIX Play web3 gaming community to support Dubai Program for Gaming 2033.

South Korean game developer, Wemade, and UAE DIFC (Dubai International Financial Zone), Innovation Hub partner to build WEMIX Play web3 gaming community to support Dubai Program for Gaming 2033.

The Wemade-DIFC Innovation Hub collaboration plans to focus on core initiatives, including establishing WEMIX PLAY Center within the DIFC Innovation Hub for WEMIX PLAY. Wemade and DIFC Innovation hub will onboard game companies and facilitate the raising of $100 million Web3 gaming fund to  support the developers, studios and entrepreneurs.

Dubai is a leading business hub with advanced financial services and policies for fostering economic growth, investor attraction, blockchain, and cryptocurrency. Aided by DIFC Innovation Hub, Wemade aims to maintain close communication with UAE crypto-regulating bodies for making the Middle East business strategy as per up-to-date trends.

Wemade is also working on an application for Crypto Token Recognition from the Dubai Financial Services Authority, the DIFC’s Financial Regulator. Tokens conferred with this status will allow financial institutions in the DIFC to carry out transactions with them, to be used by over 4,900 companies in the special economic zone.

Taurus SA, a FINMA-regulated Swiss institutional-grade digital asset infrastructure provider, has expanded its operations into the Middle East to serve its growing client base in the region. Taurus will service the GCC and MENA region, including KSA, Qatar and even Turkey through its Dubai UAE office.

Founded in 2018Taurus SA, a Swiss company provides enterprise-grade digital asset infrastructure to issue, custody and trade any digital assets: cryptocurrencies, tokenized assets, NFTs and digital currencies.

Managing Director, Bashir Kazour, leads Taurus’ new UAE office based in the DIFC in Dubai. M. Kazour brings more than 20 years of retail, capital markets and technology experience gained at Royal Bank of Canada, Standard Chartered and FIS, a leading banking and payment technology provider. Over the last decade, he collaborated closely with a diverse client base ranging from sovereign wealth funds and central banks to brokers and family offices.

“I am excited to lead Taurus’ efforts and build a winning franchise in the Middle East, a region known for its rapid adoption of blockchain technology and digital assets,” said Kazour. “Taurus is well-known for its unique custody and tokenization capabilities serving banking clients and large enterprises, which aligns perfectly with the needs of the region. We’ve already started interacting closely with regulators, central banks and clients and I’m looking forward to delivering cutting-edge and compliant solutions to the market.”

Speaking to LaraontheBlock on whether Taurus requires regulation by VARA, Bashir Kazour, Managing Director at Taurus SA explained, “Taurus does not need a regularity license in the UAE as we solely focus on providing the digital asset infrastructure to our clients in the region. To make it simple, Taurus is a technology provider, equipping banks and corporates, with a platform to manage any digital asset. The financial services activity is regulated by the Swiss FINMA and is not promoted outside of Switzerland.”

Taurus opened an office in DIFC Dubai because the company has already signed up some large financial institutions according to Kazour. He adds, “We are also in late stage discussions with several other financial and non-financial institutions in the Middle East region. The region is known for its rapid adoption of blockchain technology and digital assets driven by the regulatory clarity already provided through VARA, ADGM, RAK DAO initiatives, fostering innovation.”

As such Kazour reaffirms that the opening of the office in the UAE is to support this growing demand in the region for both custodial and tokenization solutions.

The office according to Kazour will serve the full Middle East region, including Qatar, KSA but also Turkey. He adds, “ We also have plans to expand to other countries as well.”

Taurus has already consolidated its European leadership position as the preferred digital asset infrastructure provider for banks and corporates, building on its Swiss market leadership with more than 60% market share. Among others, Taurus has recently announced a partnership with Deutsche Bank as well as CACEIS, one of the largest global custodians. Taurus also closed its $65 million Series B funding round last February with strategic investors including Arab Bank Switzerland, Credit Suisse, and Pictet.

UAE, Muhammad Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) has selected Blockchain powered working capital financing solutions startup, InvoiceMate to be part of its accelerator program.  InvoiceMate based out of UAE DIFC ( Dubai International Financial Center)

InvoiceMate is among the 22 startups selected out of over 230 applications from 41 countries around the world.  As part of the MBRIF acceleration program, InvoiceMate will gain unparalleled support and resources to fuel its innovation and growth. This collaboration opens up a world of opportunities for InvoiceMate, providing access to a vast network of industry experts, thought leaders, and potential investors who will offer invaluable guidance and strategic insights to fuel the company’s expansion plans.

InvoiceMate is a Blockchain & AI powered invoicing platform acts as bridge between SMEs and Financing Institutions. This easy digital inclusion leads to even easier financial inclusion by enabling SMEs access to various forms of credit like invoice discounting, factoring, BNPL, and supply chain financing.

Muhammad Salman Anjum, CEO of InvoiceMate, expressed his delight, saying, “We are honored to be chosen for the Muhammad Bin Rashid Innovation Fund acceleration program. This recognition validates the hard work and dedication of our team and reflects our commitment to driving innovation in the financial technology industry. Through this program, we look forward to leveraging the support and expertise to further enhance our solutions and make a lasting impact on businesses worldwide.”

Two new crypto tokens TonCoin (TON), and Ripple’s XRP have joined Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum, and Litecoin as recognized crypto tokens by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), the financial regulatory agency of the special economic zone, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

One year since the launch of DFSA the crypto token regime and five crypto tokens can now be utilized by virtual asset firms within the DIFC. License firms will be able to incorporate XRP and TON into their virtual asset services. XRP and TON will be available for use by institutions located in the DIFC to accelerate faster, more efficient global value exchange.

Commenting on the acceptance of XRP in DIFC crypto token regime, Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple,  “Dubai continues to demonstrate global leadership when it comes to the regulation of virtual assets and nurturing innovation. It’s refreshing to see the DFSA encourage the adoption and use of digital assets such as XRP to position Dubai as a leading financial services hub intent on attracting foreign investment and accelerating economic growth. Ripple will continue to double down on its presence in Dubai and we look forward to continuing to work closely with regulators to realize crypto’s full potential.”

The recognition of TON comes a few days after TON set a world record for network speed. The TON team conducted a public test of blockchain speed. The developers reported that in 12 minutes of the experiment about 42 million transactions were performed, and the maximum speed amounted to 108,409 transactions per second.

Under the regime, firms in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) can apply for and obtain a license to provide financial services with Crypto Tokens in or from the DIFC. The DFSA’s regulatory regime is largely technology-neutral, allowing firms to provide a wide range of financial services with Crypto Tokens.

The framework is designed to accommodate firms who want to operate a Crypto Token market, provide custodial services, manage clients’ assets, establish or manage funds, or provide other financial services. The rules cover a wide range of risks relating to financial crime, technology, governance, custody, disclosure, market abuse and fraud.

Since its inception the crypto token regime has received enquiries from 100+ firms have inquired regarding operating a Crypto Token business, 5 Crypto Token variations were issued (a mix of funds and trading business). In addition one license to offer Investment Tokens was issued (to tokenize units of a fund);  and five crypto tokens have now been recognized.

DFSA will be launching its next set of proposals that will focus on custody; financial Crime; Staking for Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanisms; and Fund Management

The UAE Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts has signed an agreement with Ras Al Khaimah Digital Assets Oasis (RAK DAO) the world’s first and only common law free zone dedicated to global digital and virtual assets companies, to drive greater awareness of DIFC Courts digital economy services to businesses operating within Ras Al Khaimah’s newly launched digital economy freezone.

The memorandum will foster closer cooperation on projects and initiatives designed to boost the UAE’s vision for a thriving digital economy and support economic ambitions. The agreement will also promote closer alignment and collaboration across specific digital economy services provided by both organizations.

The DIFC Courts is currently operating on a new roadmap for the years 2022-2024, which includes a strategic work plan that brings more national cohesion to the Courts’ projects and initiatives in line with the ‘D33’ economic agenda and the Dubai Digital Strategy. This in turn is providing effective support for both the federal and local Dubai strategic goals.

His Excellency Justice Omar Al Mheiri, Director, DIFC Courts, said, “Expectations from the private sector increasingly require the bold engagement of public service. By combining a modern and flexible digital infrastructure with judicial and service excellence, the DIFC Courts will continue to align our operations with the national agenda. As the UAE begins to nurture new digital economy verticals, the number of foreign organisations entering the market will inevitably increase. The DIFC Courts and RAK Digital Assets Oasis will collaborate through this agreement to assure these businesses that we remain on standby to accommodate the growing digital economy and resolve new types of cases and disputes.”

Dr Sameer Al Ansari, Chief Executive Officer, RAK Digital Assets Oasis, said: “We are thrilled to partner with the DIFC Courts. This collaboration marks a significant step in fostering a more dynamic digital ecosystem within our newly established free zone in Ras Al Khaimah. We believe that this partnership will greatly enhance the accessibility and awareness of the DIFC Courts’ digital economy services, providing valuable support to the companies of the future in our thriving digital oasis.”

RAK DAO is the world’s first and only common law free zone dedicated to global digital and virtual assets companies, empowering innovators in their journey to build the future of Web3 and blockchain technology across industries, promising to disrupt traditional business models and unlock the full potential of digital assets.

In 2021, the DIFC Courts confirmed the launch of a new Division. The international Digital Economy Court (DEC) simplifies the settlement process of complex civil and commercial disputes related to the digital economy, reviewing national and international claims related to current and emerging technologies, including big data, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, artificial intelligence, and cloud services.

The Digital Economy Court is a global initiative that operates in parallel, helping to build a new judicial support network to serve the stringent demands of digital transformation and adoption. Leading international judicial expertise has been recruited to oversee and operate the new Court’s cutting-edge digital infrastructure and service capabilities, complementing an existing portfolio of specialised Divisions, including the Technology & Construction Division and the Arbitration Division, launched by the DIFC Courts to serve an expanding demand for judicial expertise across sector-specific cases.

The launch of the new Division also signals to the international business community the intent of Dubai and the UAE to play a leading role in advancing its judicial systems to specifically direct capacity and capability to resolving digital economy-related disputes, whilst also utilizing some of the very same cutting-edge technologies to enable greater efficiency of service to the public.

The Hashgraph Association (THA), the non-for-profit accelerating adoption of the Hedera network globally, will be participating at Gitex 2023 between October 16th and 20th at the Dubai World Trade Center in Dubai UAE, as well as the Future Blockchain Summit being held between October 15th-18th at Dubai Harbour, announcing the launch of its stablecoin studio amidst VARA’s ( virtual asset regulatory authority) latest regulations regarding stablecoins.

The Hashgraph Association will be present at Gitex 2023, inking a groundbreaking partnership with Du Telecom this summer at Envision 2023.  The partnership harnesses the potential of the Hedera network to offer secure, traceable, and scalable solutions on the platform.

Hedera’s distributed ledger technology (DLT) ensures a trusted and reliable foundation for the newly developed solutions. Target sectors include manufacturing, healthcare, education, smart cities, and agriculture, catering to a wide range of industries seeking secure and efficient applications.

The Hashgraph Association will also be participating alongside AgNext, one of 12 projects offered grants by THA in 2022. The Hashgraph Association’s grant funding enables projects to scale globally. AgNext has innovated and developed a full-stack integrated algorithm, software, and hardware platform that address quality assessment issues across the agri-value chain, enabling businesses to analyze food supply chains on the spot in just 30 seconds.

THA had also previously worked with DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre) Courts, on Tejouri. The first phase of Tejouri was launched at Gitex 2022. Tejouri is a global digital vault that enables the upload and secure storing of documents ranging from insurance contracts, title deeds, wills, and financial certificates to images and multimedia files. Tejouri can be utilized by all individuals globally and is built on Hedera’s DLT, establishing a decentralized trust application.

Alongside Gitex 2023, Jeffrey Tchui, Head of Advisory, at The Hashgraph Association, will be speaking on Hedera’s ecosystem and its stablecoin accelerator, Stablecoin Studio, at Bharat Blockchain Yatra (BBY) sessions under IDS at the Future Blockchain Summit. BBY sessions are powered by Hedera and supported by AICTE.  BBY has arrived in UAE after an awe-inspiring journey that spanned 25 series of events, spreading its wings across 18 states in India as part of a tech tour on Web3 and blockchain, narrating India’s Web3 story.

IDS has been a pioneer in the enterprise blockchain space, providing cutting-edge blockchain solutions to governments and corporations worldwide across nine industry verticals.

With over 17 years of technology and consulting experience, Jeff has a wealth of experience in blockchain and DLT at leading global organizations, Hitachi, Infosys, Cognizant, and even TOKO, an asset tokenized exchange and custodian that recently received a license in Dubai, UAE from VARA (Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority).

TOKO solves the inefficiencies of today’s capital markets, leveraging DLT technologies of Hedera Consensus Service and the Hyperledger Fabric plug-in. TOKO is a digital asset creation engine created by DLA Piper, a Hedera Governing Council member that couples the compliance and regulatory rigor of a global law firm with the innovative technology solutions of tomorrow. TOKO has also been a grant candidate for THA.

Kamal Youssefi, President of The Hashgraph Association, on the participation of THA at Gitex 2023, stated, “We are here at Gitex and in the UAE because we believe that the MENA region and UAE, in particular, is the new Web3 and crypto powerhouse of the world. We are happy to be launching our upcoming grant fund in Abu Dhabi at ADGM and we are ready to discuss the DLT solutions we can offer SMEs, governments, and enterprises in the region.”

He adds, “One of the biggest discussions we believe to be relevant to the region is the new stablecoin regulations recently released by VARA. This is especially important given the launch of Stablecoin Studio on the Hedera network. Stablecoin Studio is an open-source stablecoin issuance and management toolkit that makes it easy for Web3 stablecoin platforms, institutional issuers, enterprises, and payment providers to build stablecoin. Stablecoin Studio provides organizations worldwide with an all-in-one toolkit that enables stablecoin issuers to quickly configure, issue, and manage bespoke stablecoins on the Hedera network.” 

Dubai’s Virtual asset reglatory authority recently announced what it calls Fiat referenced virtual asset ( FRVA) regulations better know to most as virtual assets pegged to a stable value, or stablecoins.

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), announced graduation of its first metaverse cohort of 10 regional and global start-ups as part of its ‘DIFC Metaverse Accelerator Programme, which included blockchain Web3 Social ecosystem platform startup Daoversal. 

The news follows the launch of DIFC’s Metaverse Platform earlier this year, in line with the Dubai Metaverse Strategy, which aims to add USD 4bn to Dubai’s GDP, support 40,000 virtual jobs by 2030, and attract 1,000 companies specialised in blockchain and metaverse technologies. At the time DIFC had noted it would choose 50 startups, yet it seems that only 10 have graduated. The inaugural ‘DIFC Metaverse Accelerator Programme’ was the first initiative announced under the ‘DIFC Metaverse Platform’ umbrella, and attracted over 160 applicants from the UAE, UK, US, India and France, with a focus on primarily Metaverse, AI, Web3, AR/VR and Blockchain sectors.The ‘DIFC Metaverse Accelerator Programme’, backed by programme partners Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company (ADNIC), DP World, and Daoverse Capital, onboarded 10 promising start-ups on 5 June 2023 with 3 months of intense bootcamp workshops to follow.Mohammad Alblooshi, CEO of the DIFC Innovation Hub, said, “Earlier this year, Dubai’s Higher Committee for Future Technology and Digital Economy endorsed the DIFC Metaverse Platform, positioning DIFC as the first government entity globally to champion an integrated Metaverse hub. To see the DIFC Metaverse Accelerator Programme come to fruition as part of that initiative with over 160 international applicants, a network of over 60 ecosystem partners, and 10 talented start-ups graduating already is encouraging and will no doubt inspire others to join us as we together embark on our next phase of growth.”Among the startups selected were Artichoke Labs, a spatial computing company specialising in creating city-scale augmented reality applications; Cognitive Technologies, experts in establishing Internet-of-Things (IoT) networks to enable both hardware and software automation; Daoversal, an expansive blockchain-based Web3 social ecosystem platform; and DoDocs, which is building a service to generate legal documents in any language for any country or jurisdiction for both individuals and businesses.In addition there was Duverse, a start-up involved in developing and implementing advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions; Evometa, a boutique digital studio providing Metaverse-as-a-service solutions for enterprises in real estate, hospitality, industrial and automotive markets; and Flan, engaged in creating micro communities for clients and creative workers to meet, Intelligent Assist and ShopDoc, two digital healthcare delivery platforms, and GoPal, a revolutionary Metaverse-based EdTech Platform.

BECO Capital is now part of the Dubai AI and Web3 Campus based out of DIFC ( Dubai International Financial Center). BECO capital VC firm manages more than $450 million in assets. According to Dubai AI and Web3 campus, BECO capital will supercharge their ecosystem.

In a LinkedIn post Dubai AI and Web3 Campus stated, “ With BECO Capital onboard, we’re introducing dynamic initiatives like demo days, offering startups a platform to showcase their innovations, and office hours, providing direct access to industry experts.”

BECO Capital’s impressive track record places them consistently in the top 10% globally for fund performance. They’ve played a pivotal role in nurturing regional unicorns like Careem and Property Finder, and we’re eager to see what future successes this partnership will bring.

Prior to this, the Dubai AI and Web 3.0 Campus, announced that it will be issuing artificial intelligence (AI) and Web3 licenses supporting activities ranging from Distributed Ledger Technology Services (DLT), specialised Artificial Intelligence Research & consultancies, IT infrastructure builders, Technology Research and Development and Public Networking Services.