The Qatar Central Bank( QCB)  sets to attract Big Tech and Fintech entities in the fields of Blockchain, AI, Tokenization, Digital assets and crypto to the country.

As per its third financial sector strategy launched by HE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohamed Bin Abdulrahman Bin Jassim Al Thani, the Qatar Central Bank recommended enhancing financial inclusion, measures to facilitate building a world-class shared market infrastructure and establishing a financial technology talent center of excellence.

The third financial sector strategy is to make Qatar a leading ecosystem embracing emerging technologies to accelerate digital transformation supported by adaptable and consistent regulatory frameworks and trusted market infrastructure. The regulatory framework is one of the key initiatives and aims to develop framework for DLT ( Distributed Ledger Technology), Blockchain, Crypto and digital assets as well as Decentralized Finance (DeFi). The regulations will ensure a trusted, legal and economic environment for AML, IP rights, and KYC KYT.

Growth areas include payments ecosystem specifically retails, as well as introduction of solutions such as robo advisory, Blockchain, artificial intelligence, digital assets and tokenization.  It also includes digitization in Islamic Finance and ESG (Environmental Social Governance).

The strategy contains 48 actionable items with 20 high priority ones as per the strategy.

The Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority and QFC Authority have jointly developed a QFC digital assets framework, as well as launched their digital assets lab which will work as a sandbox for incubating startups.

QCB governor Sheikh Bandar bin Mohamed bin Saoud al-Thani. Stated,”We believe in the importance of digital finance ecosystem in supporting the development process. As a result, we have adopted this ecosystem as a third pillar within our strategy to lead the digital financial transformation for the sector to be pioneer in the adoption of modern technologies.”

In a recent LinkedIn post, Henk Jan Hoogendoorn , Chief Financial Sector Officer at Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority revealed that the digital assets framework that the authority has been working on will soon be launched along with the digital asset lab.

As noted, QFC is working with Price Waterhouse Cooper ( PWC) to finalize the digital assets framework and the launch of the digital assets lab.

As Hoogendoorn noted, “ We are working on digitalassets framework together with Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) supported by the expertise of PwC .We are making good progress on preparation of Digital Asset Lab to be launched soon.”

Prior to this Qatar Financial Authority had taken several inititiatves towards advancing DLT, Blockchain and digital assets within the financial sector.

In May speaking to LaraontheBlock, Hoogendoorn stated, “We are developing our digital assets framework to allow for public tokenization of assets, including securities, bonds, and real-estate.” He emphasized that they will not go into crypto, NFTs (Non Fungible Tokens) or commodities at this time.

In addition Qatar Financial Centre Authority and Blockchain solution provider R3 signed an MOU to develop and grow Qatar’s fintech industry using technologies such as DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology), as well as an MOU with Blockchain entity Settlemint.

In August 2022 Qatar had released a national consultation paper about the “National Blockchain Blueprint for Qatar”. The paper was collaboratively developed by CRA, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, and Qatar University. The final version was released in March 2023.

Again it seems countries across the GCC and MENA region are embracing blockchain, digital assets, and to some degree virtual assets, the future is looking crypto bright.