UAE based MintLayer, a layer 2 blockchain that utilizes Dynamic Slot Allocation (DSA) consensus merging Proof-Of-Stake and Bitcoin technologies to make decentralized financial markets attack-proof,  will be launching its mainnet on January 29th 2024 and is planning tokenize real-estate assets starting from Dubai UAE.

Already MintLayer has received investments from a substantial number of venture capitalists including some residing in the UAE such as Phoenix crypto VC, Sheesha Finance, Varys Capital and others.

Zaid Ismail Chief Operations officer at MintLayer, based out of Dubai UAE, on LinkedIn states,“ 90% of the world’s millionaires made their fortunes through real estate, but it’s highly inaccessible, illiquid, and complicated – that’s where MintLayer comes in! Starting with Dubai, we are on a mission to fractionalize real estate ownership one country at a time.”

In an interview on Bitcoin News, he discussed how tokenized real-world assets are an appealing portfolio for modern investors.

He told Bitcoin News that despite recently garnering much of the world’s attention, traditional exchange-traded funds (ETFs), including spot Bitcoin ETFs, are still inferior to tokenized real-world assets (RWA).

He added,” Tokenized RWAs also come with increased transparency, reduced costs, and direct ownership making them a more versatile and appealing choice for modern investors seeking portfolio diversification.”

He notes in the interview that traditional finance institutions are also starting to get involved in tokenized RWAs. They are testing the waters and will need to work with regulators to adapt existing regulations to the changing landscape.

Ismail emphasizes that with MintLayer the process is simplified, reducing hassles for asset owners. With MintLayer, tokenization is embedded and simple, so non-technical users can issue tokens easily without having to use deployment contracts like on Ethereum.

Additionally, Mintlayer Institutional is building a SaaS platform for institutional clients that will help to simplify the process of issuing, monitoring and dealing with all the compliance aspects required for tokenization.

The MintLayer network, and its UTXO infrastructure, allows batching multiple transactions into a single one, saving space and lowering the fees. Furthermore, their HTLC smart contract embedded in MintLayer will allow atomic swaps and lightning network integration, allowing a way to route transactions on a peer-to-peer network that doesn’t require it to be permanently saved forever on the blockchain.

Mintlayer has a  low node requirements are pivotal in fostering a more inclusive and decentralized network allowing anyone with a standard PC, or even a Raspberry Pi, can run a node is a testament to the democratization of blockchain technology.

UAE decentralized ecommerce platform, Ayshei ( Aya Shee in Arabic), backed by Medad Holding will be launching in early 2024 as the first fully enabled Web3 AI marketplace.

Ayshei will incorporate cutting-edge features such as online auctions, virtual stores, delivery services, and AI technology, among other distinctive solutions as part of its decentralized ecommerce platform.

CEO of Ayshei, Mohammed Shaiba Al Mazrouei, emphasized that Ayshei.com represents more than just a marketplace—it signifies the dawn of a new era for online commerce in the UAE. Al Mazrouei stated that the platform empowers businesses, fosters innovation, and creates a thriving community. As the first platform to provide full transparency on fee structures and onboarding processes, Ayshei invites users to become early adopters and join the Ayshei Community, a space where limitless opportunities await.

Ayshei is positioning itself as a market enabler for SMEs, startups, and home businesses. The platform will offer an all-in-one virtual store, providing essential services such as a trade license, bank account, payment gateway, logistics (including end-to-end self-storage), and delivery. This approach aims to empower businesses to establish and flourish in the digital realm.

Being a decentralized platform leveraging web3 technology, Ayshei prioritizes user security and transparency. The platform implements multiple security measures, including profile verification through Emirates ID, UAE Pass integration, high-value product authentications, advanced transaction monitoring, property and car inspections.

The platform will offer intelligent solutions in real estate, auctions, and other domains.

On its launch day, UAE based Changer, a crypto custodian is waiving custody fees for its premium wallet clients. Changer is providing individuals globally with a reliable, convenient, and accessible wallet to safeguard and manage their digital assets.

This comes after Changer received its license from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) allowing it to safe custody provisions, technology governance, and other system controls.

Changer’s launch of custody services for the safe storage of virtual assets comes in line with an increasing demand for independent custody and fund administration of digital assets from asset managers and asset owners, as this market continues to evolve.

Changer’s premium wallet and offerings are unique to the market being the only regionally built, independent custody provider. Changer’s premium wallet brings to the market a transparent, subscription-style monthly service for users based on the assets held under custody.

As Changer ramps up its operations, it is currently waiving custody fees for early adopters, which is planned to come into effect in Q1 2024.

Cryptocurrency investors from all over the world can easily open an account via the user-friendly Changer mobile application that can be downloaded from the App Store, Google Play Store, or Huawei App Gallery, and once verified, can use it to store their digital assets.

Changer is planning to introduce additional services in early Q1 2024 which will allow its users to convert their virtual assets into fiat currencies and hold those in escrow (client-money account) arrangements with a strategic bank partner which is yet to be disclosed.

Nadeem Ladki, Senior Executive Officer of Changer, commented on the launch: “We are happy to witness the successful and global launch of Changer.ae, as the region’s first locally built, independent virtual asset custody provider catering to individuals. For widespread adoption of digital assets, users need a safe, trusted counterpart; and we are committed to investing in the infrastructure and abiding by the regulations necessary to provide that peace of mind to our global users to be a leader in this space. We are proud to launch Changer.ae in the UAE, as the Nation has a well-balanced approach to digital asset adoption and financial regulation, thus making it a great market for our premium crypto custodian service platform. The UAE is a key driver of innovation and economic growth, encouraging more investors to enter the market, accelerate growth, enable collaboration, and continue to shape the future of finance”.

Pave Bank, digital bank for businesses to transact in stablecoins, Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), and tokenized Real World Assets (RWAs) is seeking regulatory license in UAE as it expands its operations to MENA.

Pave Bank, an approved digital banking license from Georgia and a US$5.2M seed funding round led by 468 Capital with participation from Quona Capital, FT Partners, BR Capital, w3.fund, Daedalus and angel investors has launched.

Pave Bank is the world’s first fully regulated commercial bank where clients can not only get the best in class business banking products (such as multi-currency operating accounts, global payment connectivity, and treasury management solutions) but will also have access to multi-asset custody, virtual IBANs, safeguarding accounts and PaveNet, which is a multi-asset, always instant and always on network of Pave Bank customers.

Salim Dhanani, Co-Founder & CEO of Pave Bank commented: “We have set out to address limitations of today’s financial system that lacks transparency, remains restricted to certain time-windows (clearing and settlement, for example) and is riddled with intermediaries. All of this increases costs, management complexity and also limits the products and services which can be accessed by the majority of businesses and especially, for those operating globally. In parallel, we have seen a number of innovative products that have been created in the digital asset space, but sometimes with a lack of regulation and safety for users. We are championing a new path where Pave Bank customers will get access to the financial products that they are used to, but also a range of digital asset enabled products which will help them bank more efficiently within a regulated and secure environment.”

As programmability in financial services takes off, Pave Bank offers a fresh, secure and regulated platform for businesses to transact in stablecoins, Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), and tokenized Real World Assets (RWAs). Salim Dhanani added: “There are two major trends that led us to create Pave Bank. Firstly, blockchain is being integrated into the traditional financial system – with stablecoins, CBDCs included, and tokenized RWAs. We are seeing the financial system be built on new operating languages for the first time in over fifty years. Secondly, regulation is here, it’s here to stay, and for the better. We are seeing this narrative evolve around the world – in Singapore, Hong Kong, Georgia, UAE, UK, across the EU and the green shoots in the USA, amongst many others. As a fully regulated digital bank with a proprietary technology stack, we are right at the swell of the programmable financial system wave.”

Pave Bank has started the regulatory journey with a digital commercial banking license in Georgia and plans to continue to build its regulatory infrastructure globally. Georgia is strategically positioned between Europe, the Middle East and Asia, with close ties to the European Union. Its robust and transparent regulatory architecture has attracted a large number of businesses as it seeks to become a financial services hub in the region.

UAE Homegrown Fils fintech platform which employs blockchain launched prior to Cop28 to integrate sustainable values into the core of digital payments.

Fils aims to bring together buyers with capital and suppliers with high integrity carbon credits.

Nameer Khan, the founder of Fils and chairman of the Mena Fintech Association (MFTA), has designed along with his team a holistic, enterprise-grade B2B2C product offering, Fils leverages the power of leading technologies including Blockchain for its end-to-end infrastructure to transform various industries, including financial services, hospitality, and e-commerce.

This makes it easier for businesses to act on the core values of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG), said Khan, adding that major partnerships with some of the leading names in the industry would be announced soon.

Khan said Fils is poised to transform the world of ESG, through an API-first digital payment infrastructure that makes sustainability a lifestyle and can be easily embedded into platforms across sectors. He stated, “Fils is a catalyst for the evolution of ESG enforcement and has the right team, technology, experience and expertise to lead the market. With our robust infrastructure, it spells the end of greenwashing and clears a path towards greater accountability and implementation of actionable outcomes that can improve the sustainability of the world we live in.”

Prior to this UAE Ghad Capital partners celebrated the launch of Fils which they stated employed blockchain and AI for a transparent secure payment infrastructure, supporting 17 UN SDGs.

IOTA an open-source distributed ledger and cryptocurrency designed for the Internet of things announced that it will be establishing its IOTA regulated foundation for digital infrastructure in Abu Dhabi UAE. This is as per their blog is a move that underlines their commitment to the UAE and their growth plans globally. Prior to this IOTA had announced in September it would launch its headquarters in UAE.

As per the blog post, the purpose of this entity is to become one of the primary organizations to foster the growth, adoption, and global expansion of IOTA. The post states, “As we open up a new chapter with IOTA, we need to match technology with the right support to establish IOTA as a global ecosystem. We can only do this by operating out of the right environment. We are convinced that the UAE will offer IOTA the best environment to realize its global ambitions.”

It adds,” We want IOTA to be a public goods infrastructure that will power our digital society and economy. With the new foundation in Abu Dhabi, we are confident that we will achieve this vision of the future.”

This announcement comes just after ADGM (Abu Dhabi Global Market) regulatory authority (FSRA) announced its new DLT Foundation regulatory framework. So IOTA could be the first entity to launch under this new regulatory framework.

According to Dominik Schiener, Chairman of the IOTA Foundation: ”From the very beginning, we have experienced a very warm welcome and unwavering support from leaders, regulators, and businesses in Abu Dhabi. I am simply amazed at how the country operates and how it is being led by visionary and open-minded leaders. This “can-do” mentality is the perfect environment for us to take IOTA to the next level. We are excited to play a role in helping to establish the UAE as a hub for technology innovations.”

The newly established foundation will operate under the guidance of a dedicated board of directors. One of its primary objectives will be to provide essential funding and support to the rapidly growing IOTA ecosystem. This commitment aligns with our mission to foster innovation and development within the broader DLT space.

IOTA aims to work closely with leading institutions out of the UAE, and building a thriving DLT ecosystem in the UAE and beyond.  

This announcement comes as the IOTA Foundation was chosen as a key participant in the UAE’s official startup delegation at CEATEC in Japan.

“We are thrilled to announce that the IOTA Foundation has been chosen as a key participant in the UAE’s official startup delegation at the upcoming CEATEC conference, scheduled from October 17th to 20th and held at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan. This recognition is an immense honor and a testament to IOTA’s pivotal role in pioneering Web3 and Web2 innovations.”

In May 2023, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani AlZeyoudi and the Founder of Iota, Dominik Schiener, met announcing that the IoTa Blockchain platform has now been ushered into the UAE’s digital ecosystem.

On Sunday October 29th, Qatar announced one of the biggest digital assets initiatives in the country and the GCC region, the Qatar Innovation Dome for digital assets. As per the live event keynotes, the digital assets lab will develop tokenization platforms and ecosystems for everything that has value whether tangible assets or intangible assets including real estate assets, securities, Sukuk, bonds and others in the future utilizing DLT ( distributed ledger technologies), blockchain, and smart contracts.

Present at the launch was His Excellency Sheikh Bandar bin Mohammed bin Saoud Al-Thani, Governor, Qatar Central Bank, and His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Bin Qassim Al-Abdullah Al-Thani, Minister of Commerce and Industry.

Bandar bin Mohamed bin Saud Al-Thani, The Governor and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Qatar Central Bank noted in his speech, “ It is my pleasure to be at the launch of the Digital Assets Lab where as a country we are working to discover new tools to increase, enhance our competencies and capabilities in the digital sector. We have achieved strides in digital technology through a number of initiatives chief among them is electronic KYC ( Know your Customers) ad are working to develop and establish an ecosystem for startups and new companies to enhance the role of KYC.”

He added, “We are encouraging entrepreneurship as part and parcel of new financial technology strategy with local, regional and international customers with initiatives such as blockchain and digital assets. These are steps in the direction with initial modules for digital assets, modern databases, and increased internet speed as such as welcome collaboration for the sustainable development of the state of Qatar.”

Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida Board Member and Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Financial Centre in his speech offered a detailed explanation on the technology relevant to this lab, the benefits, pillars and the coding system and tokenization process. He explained, “The digital assets projects leans on three Qatar National strategies, the Qatar National Vision 2030, the Qatar Financial Center strategy and the fintech strategy of the state of Qatar, which aims to make the country a financial commercial hub 2030.”

He explained, “Tokenization is the process of creating tokens that represent tangible and intangible assets using DLT. The tokens could represent tangible assets such as real-estate or intangible assets such as securities. We will also work on fractionalization of assets, and will allow property to be part of those tokenized assets democratizing the process of investment.”

He added, “Smart contract, which are self-implementing contracts built on cryptographic programming systems, will allow the transfer of property, in distributed format.”

He discussed how DLT is an innovative technology that registers transactions, and can be expanded to include investment opportunities. As per Al Jaida, in the first phase tokenization will verify property, second will entail economy of tokens, third will entail development of smart contracts and the application which will manage these digitized tokens after which they will be offered on secondary markets.

As per the objectives of the digital assets lab, it will reinforce innovation and research as well as the establishment of DLT enabled startups, and companies, helping participants transform their ideas into tangible reality. Al Jaida states, “Participants in the digital assets lab will have three to six months to test their ideas, where they will have to meet feasibility requirements, benefits towards fintech ecosystem in Qatar before they graduate.”

The Digital asset lab will offer technology support, operational support, where startups and companies can cooperate with experts, regulators, test their use cases and register their businesses and receive licenses, offering the support from pilot to company formation allowing them to operate in Qatar’s fintech ecosystem.

Al Jaida announced that one of the first use cases to be explored within the digital assets lab will be tokenized carbon assets. He goes on to state, “Secondly will be tokenizing private company shares to facilitate trading and management of these shares, as well as transforming Sukuk bonds into digital assets in addition to tokenized real estate to facilitate the buying and selling of real estate assets.”

He called for continuous suggestions on what else can be tokenized moving forward as well as input into the regulations for digital asset ecosystem.

He then announced the name of the lab, which is the “QFC Innovation Dome”

Michael G. Ryan, the Chief Executive Officer at Qatar Financial Center Regulatory Authority, believes that the digital asset economy has a transformative nature and cooperation will be essential because as promising as it is, it also faces challenges.

He believes that with the equilibrium between innovation and regulatory oversight, confidence and trust will prevail among investors and firms. This is why the digital assets framework that QFCR has developed requires the engagement of all participants. He called for feedback on the digital assets public consultation paper announced in early October 2023, which will be open until January 2nd 2024, as these feedback will play a strong role in their policy decisions.

One of the Blockchain entities participating in QFC Innovation dome is R3. Bryan D’Souza Strategic Alliances & Partner Ecosystem Lead for EMEA at R3 stated in a comment made on the live LinkedIn event, “R3 is proud to be partnering with the QFC for this exciting Digital Assets Lab initiative.” Settlemint Blockchain is also one of the participants.

Prior to this The Qatar, Ministry of Finance, signed an agreement  with the World Economic Forum (WEF) to establish a “Centre of Excellence for the Fourth Industrial Revolution” in Qatar that will help to foster an environment for research and development in technologies that include AI ( artificial intelligence), blockchain, IoT (Internet of Things), renewable energy and others.

According to a recent Bloomberg article published October 2nd 2023, Abu Dhabi UAE will witness the launch of a stablecoin. Former Softbank vice president, Akshay Naheta has launched his company called Distributed Technologies Research (DTR) in Abu Dhabi which will focus on developing several products one of which is a stablecoin.

Naheta on LinkedIn posted,” I’m happy to announce my new company Distributed Technologies Research! We’ve been operating in stealth for the past 10 months. And, I’m looking forward to sharing our product releases over the near-term.”

According to Bloomberg, The 42-year-old financier has set up DTR and will partner on the project with Hong Kong-based DRAM Trust, which has ties to several high-net-worth individuals. They’re looking to capitalize on a stablecoin market that analysts at Bernstein estimate will grow more than 20-fold to $2.8 trillion in five years.

DRAM coins will be available on decentralized exchanges including Uniswap, Sushiswap and Pancakeswap, and the team plans to work with centralized exchanges in the near future, according to Naheta.

Akshay Naheta was a former trader at Deutsche Bank. He was central to some of SoftBank’s biggest deals during his tenure. He pitched founder Masayoshi Son on the sale of chip designer Arm to semiconductor designer Nvidia Corp. He also led a $4 billion investment in Nvidia in 2017, earning $3 billion in profit.

In a press release he states, “The launch of DTR’s business in the ADGM and the licensing of its first product to the DRAM Trust is an initial step towards our wider ambitions. Our technologies provide the efficacy, usability, governance, security, transparency and stability sought by the cryptocurrency markets, while leveraging cutting edge technology protocols. The DRAM Trust brings much-needed credibility to the global stablecoin sector.” 

Global law firm Decherts LLP acted as a legal advisor to DTR and the DRAM Trust for structural and regulatory matters. 
 
The DRAM Smart Contract has been audited by Consensys and PeckShield, with real-time reserve audits to be published by The Network Firm through their LedgerLens product.
As part of its product expansion plans, DTR expects to launch a decentralized wallet solution in early 2024, to enable the wide accessibility and utility for digital tokens.  

According to Bloomberg Intelligence crypto market analyst Jamie Coutts, stablecoins on several Layer-1 networks transacted $6.87 trillion in 2022, surpassing the transaction volumes of Mastercard and PayPal. However, stablecoins still lagged behind the Visa network, which processed nearly double the volume at $11.6 trillion.

This announcement comes less than a week after Dubai’s virtual asset regulatory authority introduced its stablecoin regulations.

Updated 5:20 pm Dubai UAE time

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.

UAE’s ADQ, Silal, which enhances agriculture and food safety in Abu Dhabi by diversifying and stimulating food production sources via technology, research and knowledge transfer initiatives for farmer, has just launched its blockchain powered platform to trace the lifecycle of food from farm to fork.

As per the news announcement, using the new traceability service is as simple as scanning the QR code of a Silal Fresh product through the Silal App. This traces the journey of crops, assuring users that the data appearing on their screen is credible.

This move is a milestone towards achieving food credibility, gaining customers’ trust and loyalty.

Enhancing food chain transparency is important for companies to ensure consumers of the quality of their products and to sustain efficient supply in the market, prevent foodborne illnesses, and detect the source of a problem in the event of an outbreak.

Knowing the source of food is essential for good health and wellbeing, which drove Silal to exert efforts to give full access to explore the origins of Silal Fresh products.

Through its traceability project, Silal aims to create a resilient supply chain system that advances agricultural goals and sustainable practices.

ADQ had set up a $200 million fund to invest in Digital assets, supplychain and Fintech. 

ADQ has been investing in various startups, including blockchain ones, and recently UAE Fuze has raised $14 million led by Further Ventures which is backed by ADQ. 

ADQ is also partnered to create a bitcoin mining farm with Marathon Digital.