In what could be called a first, a UAE top official noted that the UAE governmental entities and authorities in the UAE will accept Bitcoin, and other crypto currencies for donations this Ramadan.

UAE newspaper, Khaleej Times in an article stated, that a UAE top official has noted that authorized individuals and entities collecting funds during Ramadan will accept Bitcoin and other digital currency payments. This comes as Bitcoin surges past the $60,000 mark.

In a press conference held by the Ministry of Community Development, Mohammed Naqi, Director of Non-Benefit Public Associations Department and Mona Khalil, Director of Government Communications also noted that unauthorized individuals and entities collecting funds during Ramadan will be liable for fines up to Dh500,000 or even imprisonment.

The ministry said restaurants will not be allowed to directly donate food boxes to mosques.

Mohammed Naqi, Director of Non-Benefit Public Associations Department, said, “A fine not less than Dh500,000, or imprisonment, shall be imposed on anyone who collects or receives donations from outside the UAE in violation of the applicable regulations and procedures.”

He added: “A fine not exceeding Dh150,000 and not less than Dh300,00 or imprisonment, shall be imposed on anyone who uses donation funds for purposes other than those accepted or collected for. A fine one of Dh100,000 shall be imposed on any entity that labels itself as a “charitable or humanitarian “association, organization or institution without obtaining certification from the competent authority.”

Only 34 approved entities, mainly charitable organizations and government entities, will be permitted to receive and collect donations for Ramadan, the ministry said.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will be accepted alongside traditional methods of raising funds like cash with receipts, vouchers, SMS, markets, exhibitions, auctions, charity events and monthly deductions from personal bank accounts.

In 2019 The Ministry of Community Development, had launched a blockchain payment gateway in partnership with Dubai Blockchain center.

UAE Abu Dhabi Customs will be showcasing the latest innovative blockchain enabled projects for customs systems during its participation at Gitex 2023 under the slogan “We Shape Tomorrow’s Customs with Today’s Innovations”. Gitex 2023 will be held at Dubai World Trade Centre from October 16 to 20, 2023.

This year, Abu Dhabi Customs is highlighting its innovative digital technologies and solutions that keep pace with the latest technologies of the 4th industrial revolution and artificial intelligence, as well as launching its latest innovative projects that incorporate blockchain technology into customs systems.

Mohammed Husain Al Balooshi, Head of Corporate Communications and Marketing at Abu Dhabi Customs, stated, “Through its participation in GITEX Global 2023 within the Abu Dhabi Government pavilion, Abu Dhabi Customs seeks to showcase the latest innovative solutions and technologies adopted in its customs work system, and their role in enhancing distinguished digital services and adopting the best international practices to increase operational efficiency, which supports our efforts to achieve our vision of global leadership to be a customs authority that leads change in pursuit of enhancing security and facilitating trade, especially in line with the pillars of ‘UAE Centennial 2071‘, ‘We the UAE 2031’ vision, and the economic directives of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.”

In collaboration with both the UAE Abu Dhabi department of Culture and Tourism, Al Dar, Miral, twofour54, and Ethara, Yas Island has launches its virtual platform with digital avatars as visitors. The virtual platform is set to showcase Abu Dhabi as a leading tourism destination.

The virtual Yas Island experience was developed by Super League and breaks through on Roblox, accessible at Yas Island Tycoon – Roblox. Users’ digital avatars take a journey through key Abu Dhabi landmarks on Yas Island and beyond, including SeaWorld Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuit, Etihad Park, Aldar Square, twofour54’s Yas Creative Hub, and an Experience Abu Dhabi dedicated area featuring Louvre Abu Dhabi, Mamsha Al Saadiyat, Sir Bani Yas Island, Al Ain Oasis and Al Jahili Fort. Participants will be able to traverse the 25-square-kilometre virtual site and experience a playable, socially engaging world designed to entertain and inform audiences globally.

Throughout a blend of interactive experiences, immersive environments, games, and soon to come one-of-a-kind events, players can explore and build cultural and entertainment attractions within Abu Dhabi. As users progress through the virtual destination and its attractions, they will experience more adventures such as theme park rides, driving across Yas Island in race cars and constructing virtual homes. Customisable avatars and surprise awards are part of every player’s personalised adventure. The gamified experience will continually evolve with new partnerships and experiences.

His Excellency Saeed Al Fazari, Strategic Affairs Executive Director at DCT Abu Dhabi, stated, “This immersive adventure in the virtual realm is the latest example of Abu Dhabi’s commitment to utilising innovation and creativity to reach ever wider audiences. While we have shared Abu Dhabi with millions of visitors in the real world, today marks the start of a new phase in our journey. Everyone, wherever they are, can experience the emirate from the comfort of their own home. At DCT Abu Dhabi, we have been on a mission to progress, protect and promote the emirate as a leading tourism destination, and by offering virtual experiences, we aim to share Abu Dhabi with the world in a new way, inspiring curiosity and excitement about everything the UAE capital has to offer.”  

Rashed Al Omaira, Chief Commercial Officer at Aldar Development, said: “The virtual Yas Island experience unlocks new opportunities for a global audience to explore the island as a world-class destination to live, visit, and work. The effective use of innovative content creation not only enables us to tell the story of Abu Dhabi but also allows people around the world to become immersed in it. We are excited to see people interact with Aldar’s assets on Yas Island in the virtual world and hope it inspires them to take a trip to Abu Dhabi soon.”

Saif Rashid Al Noaimi, CEO of Ethara, said: “At Ethara, our ambition is to be the gatekeepers of first-to-market events and to unlock unique opportunities in events, activations, and entertainment. We are delighted to be part of this unique and innovative experience and are proud to be leading the way for the event industry in the region. The virtual Yas Island experience is in line with both our vision at Ethara and Yas Island’s to highlight itself as a global creative hub and leading entertainment destination. We are constantly seeking ways to deliver thrilling experiences for our fans, and delivering moments that matter.”

The UAE Ministry of Justice announced in its 2023 digitization report that utilizing blockchain technologies and video communications, 95% of court cases were conducted remotely. In addition all marriage services were completed digitally. The ministry introduced a digital system that can issue powers of attorney in less than 10 minutes without any human involvement. 

As per the news, this achievement aligns with the UAE’s digital agenda, reflects the ministry’s commitment to its digital transformation journey, and aligns with the UAE’s 2025 Digital Government Strategy.

The ministry developed a comprehensive and innovative digital system, which allowed the remote completion of marriage services in the first quarter of this year, facilitating users’ dealings and reducing paperwork. The Ministry of Justice also announced that in the first quarter of the year, the Notary Public used video conferencing and blockchain technology to generate 99 percent of powers of attorney in a digital format. 

Abdullah bin Sultan bin Awad Al Nuaimi, Minister of Justice, said that this achievement underscores the ministry’s keenness to provide a wide range of comprehensive e-services to save customers time and enhance their user experience, in line with the directives of the UAE’s leadership and the UAE Government’s objectives.

The ministry introduced a digital system that can issue powers of attorney in less than 10 minutes without any human involvement. The first phase of the system only covered lawyers’ powers of attorney, but it has now been extended to other types of powers of attorney, such as those for cars, stocks, real estate, disputes, licencing and cases.

After a meeting between UAE’s UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani AlZeyoudi and the Founder of Iota, Dominik Schiener, the IoTa Blockchain platform has now been ushered into the UAE’s digital ecosystem. In a tweet on May 25th 2023, Minister Al Zeyoudi states, “Great to meet Dominic Schiener, Co-Founder and Chairman of IOTA and explore ways to introduce their open source blockchain solution to the UAE’s digital ecosystem. With its ability to power a wide range of sectors, it could play a vital role in our advanced technology ambitions.”

This was followed by a tweet by Schiener who replied, “Thank you so much for meeting us Your Excellency Dr. Thani. It’s really inspiring for us to speak with such welcoming and sophisticated leaders like you in the UAE. We are committed to play a key role in the UAE’s continued digital transformation and economic growth.”

IOTA is an open-source distributed ledger and cryptocurrency designed for the Internet of things (IoT). It uses a directed acyclic graph to store transactions on its ledger, motivated by a potentially higher scalability over blockchain based distributed ledgers

On May 18th 2023 in another tweet, Blockchain IOTA Founder Dominik Schiener stated, “It was a pleasure to meet H.E. Abdulla Al Saleh and the team at the Ministry of Economy in UAE today. It’s impressive how they’re leading their digital transformation.”

He added, “We are looking forward to bring IOTA here and create value for the region and the world.”

In the comments it was noted, “Fingers crossed for an ongoing collaboration that propels IOTA to new heights!”

It seems the collaboration is now in full force, welcome Iota to the UAE.

The UAE Higher Committee for Government Digital Transformation, approved 6 transformational projects to enhance the UAE Government’s digital transformation, one of them being the Digital Assets Registry.

The Digital Assets Registry focuses on inventorying the digital assets of the UAE government, their validity, and the entities that own them, and measuring the extent of their use. This is the first registry launched by the federal government for tangible and intangible digital assets.

The meeting which was chaired by Her Excellency Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, the Minister of State for Government Development and the Future, also announced other projects such as Government Technology Package, Government Software Platform, and Digital Project Standards Guide.

Her Excellency indicated that the new projects enhance the UAE’s readiness to play a pivotal role in promising future sectors, ensuring a safe digital transformation in line with future aspirations and directions.

The committee reviewed the UAE Government’s Digital Investment Report 2022 and approved the Digital Readiness Retreat for Government Leaders next June. It was briefed on a number of government’s pilot digital projects from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, and Ministry of Justice.

Her Excellency Ohood Al Roumi stressed that the first package of government digital transformation projects represents an important step in achieving the goals of ‘We the UAE 2031′ vision for the UAE to be among the top 5 countries globally in Digital Competitiveness Index, Smart Government, as well as strengthen its position in the top 3 countries in digital government services. H.E. Al Roumi noted that the committee is focusing on increasing the readiness and efficiency of digital government services and operations, and preparing proactive digital transformation policies and standards in the UAE government.

UAE is building its digital economy organically by educating its government employees as well as acquiring it internationally by attracting international tech players and their talents. Not only has the country come out with a new initiative to attract 300 global tech firms, but it is also working with Chainalysis to train its government employees on all things blockchain and crypto (virtual assets).  

In recent news announced, Minister of State for foreign trade, Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, launched the “NextGenFDI” that aims to attract 300 global tech firms as well as software developers, data scientists, and coders.

The start of the initiative is through partnerships already inked out with seven major firms and business districts that include Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC),  Dubai South, DMCC,  Dubai Internet City, Emirates NBD and digital bank WIO.

Al Zeyoudi said international businesses “are approaching us and asking how they can relocate their talent, ideas, and high-growth ventures to the UAE.  The global interest in 2022 is unprecedented and while we are already working with some, we know many more want to follow suit. We want to ensure that the world’s most promising digital companies can access all the benefits that our attractive, business-friendly environment offers – but we also want to make it easy for them.”

The minister said they are introducing measures to make market entry for companies and workers simpler. These include fast incorporation processes to speed up licensing, bulk visa issuances, banking facilitation and commercial and residential lease incentives.

This is in line with UAE’s establishing 1,000 new digital companies and increase investments in startups from $400 million to $1.3 billion.

But that is not all, on the governmental front, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and teleworking applications, Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama signed an MOU with Bas Lemmens, General Manager for EMEA at Chainalysis to provide virtual training programs for government employees in the areas of Blockchain and virtual assets.

For those who don’t know Chainalysis, it provides data, software, services, and research to government agencies, exchanges, financial institutions, insurance and cybersecurity companies in over 70 countries. Their data platform powers investigation, compliance, and risk management tools that have been used to solve some of the world’s most high-profile cyber-criminal cases and grow consumer access to cryptocurrency safely.

This would allow employees to develop their skills. Al Olama stated that strengthening partnerships with pioneering companies and empowering government entities with the latest tools and advance technologies play a pivotal role in enhancing the readiness of the UAE government, through exchanging experiences and global success stories. Blockchain technology is key to creating innovative solutions for future challenges, which contributes to developing government work and new technologies that enhance the UAE’s leading position globally, he added.

The MoU also aims to enhance the utilization of Blockchain technologies in building a smart future for the UAE.

Michael Gronager, CEO and Co-Founder of Chainalysis, said, “We are honored to be selected by the UAE to play a supporting role in up skilling government entities through knowledge in Blockchain that have the potential to serve as one of the essential digital tools in promoting a robust digital economy.”

Bas Lemmens, added “We are very proud to partner with the UAE government in supporting its initiatives in adopting blockchain, analysis tools and training through the ‘UAE Chainalysis Centre of Excellence’ to implement new technologies that will help drive new business opportunities. We want to build trust in blockchains and drive the adoption of digital assets.”

As of today there are more than 1000 blockchain and crypto companies who have set up in UAE. With these initiatives this number is