The Qatar Central Bank (QCB) has announced the completion of the development of the infrastructure for the Central Bank Digital Currency Project (CBDC) and the commencement of testing of CBDC for settlement of large payments with local banks. According to the press release, this initiative will serve as a proactive step to keep pace with the rapid global developments in this field.

Qatar Central Bank confirms that, after successfully completing the comprehensive study conducted in this field, it will proceed with testing and developing selected applications for the CBDC to settle large payments with a group of local and international banks in a trial environment designed according to the latest advanced technologies.

The project will focus on the applications of the CBDC to increase access to capital markets for operating banks in the country, enhance domestic settlement, and improve the efficiency of securities transactions.

This project, which will enter its first experimental phase extending to October 2024, aims to achieve a set of primary objectives, including leveraging artificial intelligence technologies, distributed ledger technology (DLT), and emerging technologies and establish a strong foundation to enhance liquidity by expanding participation in financial market facilities, considering the aspects related to information security during project implementation.

In line with the Third Financial Sector Strategy, the Fintech Strategy, and Qatar National Vision 2030, and based on Qatar Central Bank’s ongoing efforts to regulate and develop the financial sector in the country, Qatar Central Bank announced the completion of the development of the infrastructure for the Central Bank Digital Currency Project (CBDC), QCB said in a press release.

This project reflects Qatar Central Bank’s full commitment to contributing to digital transformation within the financial sector, noting in this context that the start of the CBDC project represents an important milestone and a strategic step towards building a digital economy in the country.

It was also noted that the results of this experiment will be the cornerstone towards identifying the different use cases that the Qatar Central Bank will adopt in the future, which will contribute to enhancing the efficiency of the current systems and instant settlement.

In April 2023 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). Soon after, QFC announced one of the biggest digital assets initiatives in the country and the GCC region, the Qatar Innovation Dome for digital assets. 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.

In May 2024 The Hashgraph Association (THA), the Swiss-based organization at the forefront of global digital enablement, signed a strategic partnership with the Qatar Financial Centre to launch a Digital Assets Venture Studio, a platform to support local Qatari and international portfolio companies in the development of regulatory-compliant decentralized finance (DeFi) solutions and digital assets built on the Hedera Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) network.

The $50 million digital assets venture studio will focus on investments in Hedera-powered Web3 startups and enterprises building bankable DeFi solutions. The program will span over the next five years (2024-2028) with The Hashgraph Association investing $10million (20%).

Unicorn Hunters, ta reality business series offering entrepreneurs a global platform to connect with millions of investors worldwide, has partnered with the Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFCA) as it works to advance the nation as a world-class onshore financial and business hub.
This exciting new collaboration stands to further Qatar’s efforts to attract technology entrepreneurs which include Blockchain/DLT/tokenization innovators to the region, while simultaneously developing new partnerships and funding avenues for the Unicorn Hunters series, to the benefit of investor-fans, and featured entrepreneurs alike.

As part of the agreement, Unicorn Hunters and the QFCA will work together to position Qatar as a leading global innovation hub, connecting the country with innovators and entrepreneurs from both the Eastern and Western hemispheres. The partnership will also support the deployment of the Unicorn Hunters show in Qatar, integrating the series into the country’s innovation ecosystem and facilitating access to funding.

As part of a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed at a special Signing Ceremony on the sidelines of the Qatar Economic Forum 2024, Unicorn Hunters and the QFCA will additionally work to promote and facilitate opportunities for entrepreneurs to establish operations in Qatar, with incentives available for a ‘soft-landing’ process and ensuring greater ease of doing business. High-growth startups may further be selected to be showcased on Unicorn Hunters, with the partnership also fostering collaboration on blockchain and financial technologies to ultimately democratize financial access to funding.

“Qatar’s commitment to technological prowess and ease of business start up and market integration, for example, to streamline the process of opening a new company in-country, makes this a perfect partnership,” stated Silvina Moschini, CEO of Unicorn Hunters and founder of the Unicoin, the official token of Unicorn Hunters. “At the same time, we are looking for future $1 billion ‘Unicorn’ companies to support and invest in Qatar, a nation striving to create an open and inviting economic environment for entrepreneurs from all walks of life who want to be the next Unicorn.”

As part of Qatar’s National Vision for 2030, the country has committed itself to creating a dynamic and sustainable economy by reinvesting its significant energy wealth into various other industries. The QFCA’s robust legal and regulatory frameworks additionally offer emerging companies access to one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

“This partnership reflects QFC’s ongoing efforts in supporting Qatari entrepreneurs and empowering local startups and SMEs by providing a conducive business environment and an advanced innovation ecosystem that helps them grow and expand,” said Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, QFC.

Viewed by millions globally, Unicorn Hunters supports emerging businesses by democratizing access to funding, giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to raise expansion capital from viewers around the world. In turn, viewers have the chance to make entry-level investments in pre-IPO opportunities. In 2022, Unicorn Hunters launched the Unicoin cryptocurrency, backed by real-world assets and investments in companies featured on the program.

Unicorn Hunters can be streamed on, YouTube, Linkedin Broadcast, Facebook Video, and Vimeo. The program may also be viewed on Claro Video, one of the largest streaming platforms in Latin America, on Ghana’s TV3 Network, and on in-flight entertainment systems aboard Tap Air Portugal, WestJet, and Etihad Airways, the flagship airline of the UAE, serving millions of passengers across the Middle East, Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, and Australia.

QANplatform backed by Qatar’s MBK Holding has rolled out the world’s first quantum-resistant and Ethereum-compatible blockchain testnet, where developers can code smart contracts in any programming language.

As per the blog post, the introduction of this testnet follows the successful implementation of QANplatform’s quantum-resistant technology by a European Union member state. Building on the success of the QAN Private Blockchain or QAN Enterprise Blockchain launched in September 2023, the new QAN TestNet is a precursor to the QAN MainNet Beta and signifies a leap in the Web3 ecosystem’s evolution.

The blog notes, that Qan is the world’s first platform that combines three outstanding features: quantum-resistant security, compatibility with Ethereum’s EVM, and the ability to code smart contracts in any programming language.

Enabled by the QAN Virtual Machine (QVM), the platform welcomes smart contract creation in a diverse array of programming languages compatible with the Linux Kernel. This approach aims to democratize access to Web3 technology, potentially drawing in more than 28 million new developers by moving beyond the traditional blockchain platforms that support only a few programming languages. QAN lowers the entry barriers for non-developers with its no-code smart contract studio, allowing users to generate smart contracts interactively within minutes.

In alignment with the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)’s primary recommendations, QANplatform incorporates CRYSTALS-Dilithium algorithm into QAN XLINK. The QAN XLINK cross-signer ensures post-quantum transaction security while maintaining Ethereum EVM compatibility, safeguarding QANplatform and its users against the looming threat of quantum computing.

Johann Polecsak, Co-Founder and CTO of QANplatform, expressed, “Crafting a blockchain that addresses both future challenges, such as quantum attacks, and current market issues, like high entry barriers for developers and enterprises, presented a significant and complex undertaking. Our aim to achieve Ethereum compatibility to facilitate seamless integration of pre-existing solutions added to the complexity. The dedication of our team to navigate these challenges affirms a critical advancement.”

zbyte, a blockchain technology provider has partnered with Doha Design District to introduce an NFT ticketing system for the upcoming TEFFA AI R evolution (Technology Education Finance Fashion & Art) event returning to Msheireb Downtown Doha for its second edition from 6-8 May, 2024. This innovative deployment sets a new standard in the event industry by leveraging cutting-edge technology to enhance attendee experiences.

Doha Design District, renowned for its commitment to merging the domains of fashion, art, and technology, has adopted zbyte’s blockchain platform to mint NFT tickets. It simplifies the ticketing process and adds a layer of security and exclusivity, transforming each ticket into a unique digital collectible. The ease of minting NFTs through zbyte’s platform demonstrates a significant leap towards digital innovation in Qatar.

Qatar has shown growing interest in adopting blockchain technology, seeing it as a key driver for future innovations and digital transformation.

Shaikha al Sulaiti, Senior Design Manager Doha Design District, expressed her excitement about this partnership: “We are thrilled to sponsor an event that not only showcases the rich culture of Qatar but also embraces such transformative technology. This collaboration with zbyte and TEFFA is just the beginning of our journey towards integrating more digital solutions in creative domains.”

The collaboration between zbyte, TEFFA AI R evolution, and Doha Design District is expected to set the stage for future technological integrations that could redefine the event management and attendee engagement industries.

Nitin Kumar, Co-founder of zbyte, shared his vision for the technology’s impact: “Our partnership with Doha Design District and TEFFA AI R evolution is a testament to the potential of blockchain technology in making a tangible impact. By simplifying the minting of NFT tickets, we are setting a new paradigm for events that enhances security, attendee engagement, and the overall event experience. We are excited to see how Qatar embraces this technology and look forward to expanding our innovative solutions further.”

In a recent development, Crystal Intelligence, a company which works and develops tools for blockchain and crypto investigation and AML (Anti Money Laundering) compliance, held a two-day workshop in Qatar with the Qatar Financial Authority (QFC).

The workshop centered on discovering effective strategies for law enforcement in seizing cryptocurrencies, featuring insights from Federico Paesano, Investigation Lead at Crystal Intelligence.

The Blockchain Crypto Compliance and Investigation Training Program by QFC and Crystal Intelligence provided attendees with a solid foundation in blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, emphasizing practical knowledge and compliance.

It also shed light on key stakeholders while sharing cryptocurrency’s use cases and functions relative to the traditional financial system.

This would look like an interesting development given that previously Qatar Central Bank had considered the trading of crypto as illegal.

While Qatar has warmed up towards blockchain and the utilization of digital assets in the tokenization realm, it seems that today it has started to seek to learn how to navigate the cryptocurrency realm. QFC is also preparing for its digital assets Hackathon.

 Crystal Intelligence states on its website that it works with Government agencies, supervisory bodies, law enforcement and investigators use our powerful technology, visualization tools and trusted intelligence to boost blockchain investigations and trace criminals.

It also works with traditional banks, asset management firms, insurance companies, crypto exchanges and other types of financial services to ensure that their systems and technology meets AML/CTF obligations.

In a linkedin post, Henk Jan Hoogendoorn, Chief of Financial Services Sector at Qatar Financial Centre Authority, noted that discussions were heating up with regards to the upcoming digital assets, takaful and Insurtech hackathon. He also mentioned discussions on the launch of a new wave of accelerator and incubator programs as well as a Fintech survey 2024.

He noted, “Qatar FinTech Hub on a roll. We discussed upcoming #hackathon with the focus on Digital Assets and takafel insurtech. As well as the launch of new wave of accelerator #incubator programs and Fintech survey 2024.”

Those present in the discussions included Qatar Development Bank and Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority Qatar Central Bank.

This is part and parcel of the efforts Qatar is making on both the Blockchain and digital assets front, especially after launching the digital assets lab earlier this year.

Among the themes being focused on in Qatar is tokenization of real estate, securities and other financial instruments.

Recently Bahrain Central Bank graduated the first fractional tokenization platform for Islamic Sukuk, called INABLR.

Max Keisser the Bitcoin activist is at it again. Over the past months Max continues to make claims that a nation state is purchasing large amounts of Bitcoin. First, he pointed the finger at Qatar, claiming it would purchase $500 billion worth of Bitcoin.

Qatar obviously did not confirm or negate these claims; however, its central bank and government continue to prohibit the trading of cryptocurrencies noting the risky nature of these virtual assets. This has not stopped Qatar from embracing digital assets, and developing a regulatory framework as well as the digital assets Lab.

However, this has not discerned Keisser, he commented on an X (formerly twitter) post by Vivek4real that notes that an “undisclosed nation-state just bought another 100 Bitcoin. They now own 59K Bitcoin.”

Keisser comments on X that his new intelligence points to Abu Dhabi being the purchaser of Bitcoin. He states, “Just got some new intel . . .  Abu Dhabi is now the top contender.”

So now it is not Qatar but its Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE.

This while still seeming farfetched, could be closer to the truth than assuming that Qatar is purchasing Bitcoin. First Abu Dhabi and the UAE in particular have been positively approaching virtual assets. Both Abu Dhabi’s ADGM (Abu Dhabi Global Market) regulatory arm the FSRA as well as Dubai’s virtual asset regulatory authority (VARA) have come out with crypto regulations and have licensed crypto exchanges, and custodians.

Moreover Abu Dhabi is home to a Bitcoin mining farm co-owned and managed by Marathon Digital so it could be plausible that they are accumulating Bitcoin from revenues of the crypto mining farm. It is also the base of Phoenix Group another huge bitcoin mining investor.

So while Keisser continuously tries to allude to the fact that an rich oil country, or a country in the MENA region is buying up Bitcoin, the biggest governmental owners of Bitcoin are the United States, Britain, and Germany. They own the most Bitcoin according to Arkham Intelligence. The crypto analytics firm noted that the United States owns 212,847 Bitcoins.

What one can say for sure, is that the ownership of Bitcoin is falling more into the hands of institutional investors, and governments whether with Bitcoin ETFs or confiscated crypto.

As per Invest Qatar report The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), Tasmu Smart Qatar invested $1.65 billion in digital technologies, and expects this number to reach $5.7 billion by 2026.

Qatar’s digital investments across different priority technologies, such as Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, cybersecurity systems integration, hardware & software deploy and support, cloud computing, big data analytics, enterprise resource planning, AR & VR, drones, IT consulting, Blockchain, custom application design, and artificial intelligence (AI), is expected to grow from “$1.65bn” in 2022 to “$5.7bn” in 2026.

Invest Qatar revealed this in its report, ‘Smarter Qatar: Embracing Emerging Technologies and Innovation, Improving Lives and Driving a Sustainable Digital Economy’, which it prepared in collaboration with the MCIT.

The report also stated that Tasmu is leveraging emerging technology to drive the Smarter Qatar Strategy.

As per the report, “Key functionality focus areas and microservices are identified based on alignment with national strategies, scan of global smart city/nation platforms, and relevance to proposed platform role,” the report stated.

The functionality focus areas include IoT, cloud, analytics, and AI, while the potential microservices are IoT sensors, marketplace, generative Al, multi-cloud, operation command centre, chatbots, predictive analytics, payment gateway, voice interface, and hybrid-cloud, among many others.

According to the report, the integration of emerging technologies in a smart country landscape leads to transformative changes, enhancing sustainability and the quality of life of citizens, ensuring seamless connectivity, and data-driven decision-making.

Additionally, the integration of IoT with AI-powered traffic management helps analyze real time traffic data and coordinates signals leading to a decrease in congestion, enhanced transit efficiency, and lowered greenhouse gas emissions. On data analytics, the report stated that gathering big data from people, infrastructure, and vehicles empowers city planners to optimize buildings, enhance energy efficiency.

Qatar recently launched its digital asset lab which includes blockchain technology at its core, with companies joining in from around the globe.

Qatar backed London based Qan platform is taking the Blockchain conference scene by storm. the QAN platform will be attending both the Paris Blockchain Week, from April 9th-11th and then will be off to Dubai UAE for Blockchain Life 2024 on April 15th and 16th, followed by Token 2049 on April 18th and 19th.

UK QANplatform, the quantum-resistant Layer 1 blockchain, received $15 million investment from Qatar investment company MBK Holding. In September 2023, MBK holding publicly expressed their support for QANplatform.

The Qan platform is one of the blockchain platforms being supported by Qatari investors and enterprises. Maxya Blockchain platform developed by Genesis technologies has been supported by Qatar University as well as QFC ( Qatar Financial Center). Recently the Qatar Blockchain startup, Genesis Technologies partnered with South Korean Blockchain company CP Labs.

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.

UK based Khalij Group, a well-established financial solutions provider and Islamic Finance solutions has joined the Qatar digital asset lab based out of the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC).

Khalij Group is a conglomerate focused on servicing the needs and requirements of the Islamic financial services industry and Islamic capital markets, including creating innovative and be-spoke structured solutions, fund raising and distribution of both debt and equity instruments.

In a LinkedIn post, Henk Jan Hoogendoorn, Chief Financial Officer at QFC stated, “ Khalij Group will join Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority digital asset Lab and will bring a wealth of experience in fintech as well Islamic investments , structuring and sharia advisory from the UK to Qatar and GCC.”

Headquartered in the United Kingdom, Khalij Group boasts a robust presence across key international financial hubs including the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Qatar and the United States of America.

In October 2023, 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.

The Qatar Central Bank(QCB) also announced that it would be working 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.

In addition, the Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFCA), the legal and tax arm of the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC signed an MOU with the Asian Institute of Digital Finance (AIDF), a research institute of the National University of Singapore (NUS), to embark on projects encompassing ESG, Fintech, digital assets, Web3 and other emerging technologies.

All these efforts seek to place Qatar as a leading country for tokenization and digital asset implementations.