In a recent tweet, Japan based Astar, EVM based smart contract Blockchain platform that seeks to be the future of multichain smart contracts revealed its plans to set up a base in the UAE. Astar is designed to become a hub for smart contracts on Polkadot and is backed by prominent investors that include Binance, Huobi, OKEx, Fenbushi, and others.

Sota Watanabe, Founder of Astar, stated in  recent tweet, “ My Abu Dhabi and Dubai business trip  was amazing. Met some government officials, investors and entrepreneurs here in UAE We plan to set up a local office here too. Our future is bright!”

In November 2022, Astar Blockchain Network onboarded Japan’s top mobile carrier NTT Docomo to collaborate on mass adoption of Web3 as well as its social implementation.

Then in late July 2023, Fireblocks, an enterprise-grade platform for institutional adoption of digital assets, integrated with Astar Network, an EVM and WebAssembly (Wasm) compatible smart contracts platform.  The collaboration could see more than 650 banks and institutional investors use Fireblocks’ technology to access and manage their digital assets, boosting institutional adoption of DeFi on Astar, the two platforms noted in their press release.

Web3 tokenized indices investment startup, nealthy, which recently raised $1.3 million, has set up its headquarters in Dubai UAE.

nealthy provides index tokens that replicate the structure of classic exchange-traded funds (ETFs). By storing multiple digital assets in on-chain vaults, building a diversified portfolio, and issuing an underlying indicator token. The first token will be called $nNFTS (which retains its real value through a peg to recognized blue-chip NFTs), nealthy is lowering the barriers to entry and opening the floodgates of digital asset investment to people around the world.

The leadership team of CEO Ludwig Schroedl, CTO Zied Said, and CMO Tim Pascual said that Dubai-based operations would help expand to a crypto-friendly region renowned for its forward-looking strategies. “We are thrilled to announce our move to new corporate headquarters in Dubai. From the standpoint of Dubai’s robust investment market to its renown as a hub for innovation, tourism, collectibles, luxury, and more, operating from Dubai will give nealthy access to the customers, investors, partners, and collaborators needed to bring nealthy’s performant solutions to as wide a user base as possible. 

We are excited about the next stage of our journey and cannot wait to power ahead with new releases and developments for our clients, partners, and investors,” said Ludwig Schroedl.

UAE Egyptian based Singularity Innovations Limited a Fintech Blockchain infrastructure provider, with a license out of DIFC ( Dubai International Financial Centre), has partnered with Red Date Technology, a Hong Kong based enterprise blockchain infrastructure company, to promote and build a global public IT system infrastructure based on non-cryptocurrency public chain technologies.

Singularity will act as an infrastructure provider for the BSN Spartan Network in the Middle East and Africa; offering blockchain infrastructure to corporate and governmental entities.

The BSN Spartan Network is a public infrastructure network based on the lightweight BSN Spartan data center software, which is open source, free, and anonymous for anyone to install. Within the data center, the nodes of several Non-Cryptocurrency Public Chains can be installed and accessed. By removing the cryptocurrencies from public chains‘ layer one, the BSN Spartan Network‘s mission is to provide Non-Cryptocurrency public chain services to all IT systems around the world to enjoy this kind of public IT system infrastructure.

The validator nodes of the public permissioned network are run by large corporates such as HSBC, Emperor Group, and Lan Kwai Fong Group, although many of the current companies have Hong Kong or Chinese connections. 

Mo Taysir, CEO & Co-Founder of Singularity Innovations Limited & Singularity Finance expressed his excitement about the partnership: “This partnership lays down the infrastructure required to power and empower international interoperable enterprise blockchain solutions; be it in global trade & supply chain, identity, carbon credits, personal data management, and more.”

“We have received strong positive feedback about the huge potential for public IT systems and non-cryptocurrency public blockchain technology from both enterprises and governments in the MEA region.  Red Date is excited to be partnering with Singularity to bring the BSN Spartan Network to the MEA region,” said Tim Bailey, VP of Global Sales for Red Date Technology.

“We aim to work with government bodies and regulators to always be complaint with all requirements and licensing in the aim of providing a ‘fully compliant Smart-Contracts infrastructure layer’ for enterprise & governmental use,” commented Mo Taysir. 

The Ultra-Abu Dhabi, the premier EDM music festival taking place on March 4th and 5th 2023 will be powered by NFT (Non fungible token) tickets developed by BNB Chain, smart contract blockchain and  Fellaz, a Web3 entertainment ecosystem.

The cutting edge ticketing solution powered by BNB Chain will verify the authenticity of tickets, ensuring legitimacy. The collaboration will allow for a more seamless and secure ticketing experience for Ultra Abu Dhabi fans using NFT ticketing while providing a new blueprint for Web3 fan engagement specializing in the music industry.

BNB Chain was originally initiated by Binance but has since grown to become a community-driven, permissionless, and decentralized blockchain ecosystem. Binance is now  one of the many contributors operating within the BNB Chain ecosystem rather than some kind of dominant force wielding unilateral power over it. 

Alvin Kan, Director of Growth and Ops at BNB Chain said, “The new NFT ticketing solution will allow the use of NFTs to provide a secure and tamper-proof way to verify the authenticity of tickets and offer a convenient and seamless experience for the fans. We believe that this collaboration represents a major step forward in the use of mainstream blockchain technology in the entertainment industry, and we are confident that it will set a new standard for Web3 fan engagement and entertainment applications in both IRL and Metaverse environments.”

Bobby Bhatia, CEO of Fellaz, said, “We are excited to partner with BNB Chain to bring our NFT ticketing to this global EDM music festival. Fellaz NFT Tickets powered by BNB Chain will provide a more secure and engaging ticketing experience for fans. We are thrilled to be at the forefront of this technology in the entertainment industry with global brands like Ultra.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Fellaz on this groundbreaking initiative,” said Dudley Chou, Managing Partner of UC Global, the organizer behind many Ultra events in Asia, including Ultra Abu Dhabi. “The use of NFTs for event ticketing is a growing trend in the entertainment industry, and our partnership with Fellaz and BNB Chain is a major step forward in bringing this technology to the mainstream. With its seamless integration and unmatched security, Fellaz’s NFT ticketing solution will provide a new level of convenience and engagement for fans and event organizers alike.”

Integrating NFTs into the ticketing process offers several advantages over traditional ticketing systems. NFTs offer a reliable and secure means of verifying ticket authenticity, guaranteeing entry access exclusively to those with legitimate tickets. This helps to combat the issue of ticket fraud, which has long been a problem in the music industry.

Also, it allows for greater flexibility and convenience in the ticket-purchasing process. Ticket holders can easily transfer their tickets to friends or resell them on the secondary market without paying a fee to a reseller. This allows for a more seamless and hassle-free experience for music fans. Furthermore, the use of NFTs in the ticketing process enables the implementation of innovative features such as personalized and interactive festival experiences.

For the fourth time since 2019, Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures, a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco has participated in an investment round in Data Gumbo, the blockchain enabled smart contract provider. This time Data Gumbo raised 4 million USD in its Series C round led by Saudi Aramco Ventures and Equinor, Norway’s energy operator.

In 2019, Data Gumbo the Houston based blockchain Technology Company which had developed a Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform to streamline smart contracts management for industrial customers, completed a 6 million USD Series A equity funding round co-led by Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures, and Equinor.

Then in 2020, Data Gumbo, closed its Series B funding round of 4 million USD led by new investor L37, a Bay Area and Houston-based venture capital company, with Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures as a participant in the round.

In 2021 once more Data Gumbo closed a Series B funding round totaling 7.7 million USD with follow-on investments led by Equinor Ventures, and Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures.

So far, Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures has been one of the consistent investors in Data Gumbo. So it was no surprise to once again see Saudi Aramco invest in Data Gumbo’s Series C round, and be a lead investor as well. Saudi Aramco given the amount of investments raised to date by Data Gumbo, has definitely invested millions into the startup.

This funding round follows a year of impressive growth for Data Gumbo, which has introduced the first ever Smart Contract Marketplace with forty smart contract templates ready to be deployed for immediate reduction in transactional friction and grown to over 180 enterprises participating in Data Gumbo’s smart contract network.

Data Gumbo also opened its offices in KSA in 2022. At the time Data Gumbo stated that it was establishing a local presence to take advantage of the regional business opportunities ripe for smart contract network adoption.

Commenting on the recent fund raising, William Fox, CEO of Data Gumbo stated, “We have continued to lead the way in the adoption of smart contracts for industrial use. The partnership with Equinor and Saudi Aramco, and their associated supply chains and partnerships, will continue the momentum for the Data Gumbo’s smart contract network.”

By tapping into existing IIoT data sources to trigger confirmation and payment automation of contractual commercial terms, organizations are able to eliminate the time-consuming process of validating invoices and transactions and fully automating the procure-to-pay and order-to-cash processes. 

Data Gumbo plans to expand its reach, helping any organization who captures field data today to streamline their back office processes and realize time and cost savings.

“While we started in energy, we already have value for bulk commodity haulage, trucking and shipping, with plans to parlay our momentum into other global industries,” commented Andrew Bruce, Founder of Data Gumbo. “Wherever two or more organizations share a contractual relationship that can be verified with a digital source of data, opportunities abound to realize efficiencies and cost savings utilizing our blockchain network.”

Frank Andrasco, Senior Investment Director, Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures stated, “Distributed ledger technologies bring win-win efficiencies between industrial companies and their suppliers, and Data Gumbo is at the forefront of introducing this innovation. While they have started in the energy sector, Data Gumbo’s platform has broad industrial applicability.”

To date Saudi Aramco’s Venture arm has participated in all the investment rounds of Data Gumbo, which  has raised a total of close to 21 million USD. One thing known for sure is that Saudi Aramco is backing the Blockchain smart contract service provider, and much more will be seen in the future.