The UAE Sharjah Digital Office’s “Sharjah NFT” is now live. The NFT will be used to issue verified digital certificates using soulbound tokens which efficiently store and track documents using blockchain through a QR code.

As per the press release, this marks a significant achievement in Sharjah’s digital transformation journey and underlines its commitment to a sustainable future for all.  The platform was inaugurated at the Sharjah Government Pavilion during GITEX Global 2023. It provides an innovative and user-friendly system enabling various entities, including government authorities, educational institutions, private businesses, and event organisers, to issue authenticated certificates as non-fungible codes stored in a digital record.

Sheikh Saud bin Sultan Al Qasimi commented, “In light of the rapid advancement of technology in work and life, Sharjah Digital Office remains dedicated to integrating cutting-edge technologies to benefit the community. These efforts are central to the emirate’s digital transformation journey, driven by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, who underscores the importance of fostering innovation in Sharjah’s technological domain and prioritising flexibility and efficiency across all sectors.”

He added, “The introduction of the Sharjah NFT Platform signifies a shift from traditional paper certificates to secure and dependable digital certificates, which are easy to issue and offer a high level of reliability and security. The platform acts as a firewall; it is impervious to any form of tampering or fraud and ensures the authenticity and credibility of certificates through blockchain technology, guaranteeing their direct association with the legitimate recipient.” He also stressed that this initiative aligns with Sharjah Digital Office’s strategy to reinforce and expedite the digital transformation journey in the emirate, with a strong emphasis on making significant strides in the domain of smart living.

Users can design and generate customized certificates to meet their specific needs, utilizing the platform’s blockchain-based infrastructure to efficiently create certificate records and serve as a central control hub for coordinating their distribution with maximum efficiency and minimal manual involvement.

The Climate COP28 UAE Edition will have the first DigitalArt4Climate & Blockchain4Climate edition. The roadmap for the edition will be discussed on May 2nd 2023 side event which aims to shed light on the game changing potentials of digital innovation especially blockchain as an enabler of societal action for climate empowerment and local SDGs implementation.

The virtual side event will focus on edutainment and youth in an effort to help the UN Climate Conference COP28 in Dubai UAE in December 2023.  The side event is being organized by IAAI GloCha.

The IAAI association is a UNFCCC accredited non-profit organization based in Austria that promotes sustainable development and climate action through the use of innovative technologies, such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT). IAAI is a member of the Global Challenges Action Empowerment Consortium (GloCha), which is a network of organizations working together to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges, including poverty, climate change, and inequality with a systemic innovation approach, including culture/education, (blockchain focused) digital innovation and social/organizational innovation.

IAAI is a founding member of the Climate Chain Coalition (CCC) (, the world’s oldest and largest network of organizations which work towards harnessing the potentials of blockchain technology for climate action empowerment.

At the virtual side event IAAI GloCha, the UN Habitat Youth program, the Climate Chain Coalition and partners from the UAE and other parts of the world will present the roadmap towards the DigitalArt4Climate COP28 edition, the Data and digital innovation for citizens and youth climate action empowerment partnership of GloCha and the Climate Chain Coalition (incl. activities in relation to the development of a citizens climate action app), plans for the COP28 Blue zone Digital Innovation/ Blockchain4Climate pavilion in the context of broader networking and capacity building efforts of the global Blockchain4Climate community, etc.

The side event will entail a live web-broadcast on the IAAI GloCha Facebook page & UN Habitat Youth Program Youtube Channel & live and on-demand broadcast coverage on UN WebTV

Irina Karagyaur, Co-coordinator of DA4C & Miroslav Polzer will present the DigitalArt4Climate concept

Presentations will also be made on  DA4C plans for COP28 (DA4C COP28 competition launch at the UNFCCC Bonn Climate Conference June 2023 (innovations: music video award category, artists with special needs award (in collaboration with Art for All Center Sharjah, as well as DA4C Edutainment hub @ GITEX Impact in Dubai UAE 16-20 October 2023.

DA4C COP28 edition partners will include Mo Ghoneim, Founder at ArtsHelp, Conscious Crypto Creators program, Ruba Hussain, Art for All Center Sharjah, Dubai Care, Mari Asada, NFT artist & Makoto Okubo, Music4SDGs program & Earth Day Japan Network and Lisa Lang, Climate KIC

UAE’s government of Sharjah has honored its partners with the first Soul NFT (Non Fungible Token) plaque. Sharjah became the first in the world to introduce NFTs with SBT technology as its Higher Committee of the Government of Sharjah at GITEX Global 2022 honored the participants, supporting entities, departments, and media outlets for their contribution in the success of Sharjah’s participation in the global event with Soul NFT plaques.

Sheikh Saud bin Sultan Al Qasimi – Chairman of the Higher Committee for the Government of Sharjah at GITEX Technology Week 2022, Director of the Sharjah Digital Office, gifted the supporting entities non-fungible tokens digital trophies (NFTs) using Soul Bound Tokens (SBTs) technology, replacing traditional appreciation plaques for the first time ever in the world. A trophy is an NFT stored in a digital ledger, whose identity can be verified via the blockchain system.

SBT’s are digital identity tokens that represent the traits, features, and achievements that make up a person or entity. SBTs are issued by “Souls”, which represent blockchain accounts or wallets, and cannot be transferred or sold.

Sheikh Saud bin Sultan Al Qasimi said: “Based on the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, our efforts continue to focus on the development of sustainable growth across all sectors. In line with the technology evolution that we are witnessing in all aspects of daily life, we have – for the first time ever in the world – replaced traditional appreciation plaques with sustainable digital assets to honor our partners”.

UAE University of Sharjah has launched a research project aimed to develop a blockchain metaverse system to preserve the UAE culture and heritage. Working with BSV Blockchain Association, the University of Sharjah plans to retain ownership of UAE culture in the form of digital assets, and then develop an NFT and physical marketplace where users can exchange physical originals as well as NFTs all in a metaverse environment.

Prof. Maamar Bettayeb, Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies at The University of Sharjah noted that this was a very pragmatic use case utilizing technologies such as Blockchain, metaverse and NFTs. He states, “The University is serving the community and UAE’s national economy by implementing the vision of the Emirate of Sharjah as well as the UAE in documenting and preserving our history and heritage in both tangible and intangible formats.”

 Mr. Jimmy Nguyen, Bitcoin Association for BSV Founding President, added “We are very excited and pleased with the partnership with a premier institution in the UAE such as the University of Sharjah to develop an innovative solution that utilizes the latest technologies to preserve the nation’s values and history in UAE and the region. Launching a new start-up will help in creating many jobs for the new technology graduates and create new economy for trading antiques, historic and modern artworks in a digital format and in virtual marketplace as NFTs”.

Dr. Mohamed Al Hemairy, the leading researcher at the University of Sharjah explained, “UAE has a very wealthy culture and human heritage, characterised by numerous physical inheritances. Yet new generations and expatriates don’t know much about it, that is why we researched how we could deploy Blockchain to preserve the intellectual property and ownership of the Emirati’s Families inherited treasures and to design a virtual art gallery for the Arabic and Islamic culture, heritage, antiques, historic and modern artworks in a state-of-the-art digital format. These would be digitized in the form that would retain its intellectual property through Non-Fungible Tokens [NFT].”

The heritage and culture of the UAE will be in a virtual art gallery in the Metaverse built on BSV Blockchain.  

Mr. Muhammad Anjum, the Head of the BSV Hub for MESA, commented “Developing relationships and supporting the academic institutions is a key goal of our regional BSV Hub and an impactful way that the blockchain technology can grow in the Middle East. The University of Sharjah has brought a very strong use case to utilize the powerful features of the BSV blockchain. The Dubai Metaverse Strategy is an innovative initiative and a key step towards making UAE the first country in the world in the field of adoption and use of the metaverse. We are confident that we will see numerous engagements between BSV Ecosystem, and the University of Sharjah soon.”

UAE based ZelaaPayAE, with headquarters in Sharjah Tech Park and offices in Dubai, which works to integrate fiat and crypto payments utilizing Polygon Blockchain infrastructure, has now joined Visa’s Fintech Fast Track program for a period of five years, to speed up the process of integrating with visa while introducing crypto backed payment credential in the UAE and wider CEMEA region.

As per ZelaaPayAE twitter post, “In this 5-year long partnership with Visa, we are focused on growing across United Arab Emirates and KSA region. ZelaaPayAE shall continue to identify and develop payment products such as collateralized spending and more throughout the span of this collaboration.”

They add, “This accolade now enables us as a fintech provider to enable crypto-transactions using physical debit cards easier and accessible with over 70 million merchants that comprise Visa’s vast ecosystem. It will also allow us to innovate further and surf beyond just debit cards.”

“I have dreamt of making ZelaaPayAE a pioneering fintech startup in the UAE and one of the first movers towards providing alternative financial solutions to the end consumer in this region. By joining Visa’s Fast Track program, this will now be possible and our demographic reach will be limitless as we strive to push for adoption and further utility of payments through cryptocurrencies,” said Sahil Arora, CEO & Founder of ZelaaPayAE.

Alex McCrea, VP, Head of Strategic Partnerships and Ventures for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Visa, said: ““We’re delighted to welcome ZelaaPayAE to Visa’s Fintech Fast Track program and excited to work with them on the enablement of secure and seamless crypto payments in the UAE. We have no doubt the team at ZelaaPayAE will leverage access to the experts, technology and resources that the program allows to scale with efficiency and expand access to crypto payments.”

Recently ZelaaPay announced that that Cagau store in Dubai are now accepting cryptocurrencies at their store using Bitcoin, USDT, BNB, TRX through ZelaaPay’s XPOS powered by PundixLabs.  

ZelaaPay partnered with Lead Ventures in the UAE.

UAE Midchains has also partnered recently with Visa Fast track to offer the same services as ZelaayPay’s partnership with Visa.