UAE based Lucidia, a game studio and publisher has announced Web3 gaming strategy integrating blockchain technology. As per the announcement Lucidia is set to redefine the gaming experience with its suite of 24 ground-breaking products. The company’s strategy focuses on blending traditional gaming with the transformative potential of blockchain, catering to the vibrant and rapidly expanding gaming community in the Middle East.

Feras Alnimer, CFO and Co-Founder of Lucidia, shared his vision for the company, stating, “We are crafting ecosystems that redefine the essence of gaming through the power of Web3. The Middle East, with its vibrant youth and untapped potential, is not just a market for us—it’s the future. So we’re inviting our community to help us shape this future. Our suite of 24 ground-breaking products is only a beginning. Together, we’re not just playing games; we’re setting new paradigms.”

Lucidia’s innovative approach is not only about enhancing game mechanics with blockchain technology but also about creating a new revenue model and community engagement strategies that position the company at the forefront of the Web3 gaming sector.

The global gaming market has surpassed $200 billion by 2023, with the Middle East experiencing the fastest growth. This rapid expansion highlights the vast potential and opportunities within the region for innovative gaming solutions like those offered by Lucidia.

“Our focus on the Middle Eastern market involves developing localized content and tailored gaming experiences to resonate with the cultural nuances and preferences of the region. This strategic direction is expected to enable Lucidia to capture a significant share of the market, leveraging the region’s untapped potential to foster a vibrant gaming community,” Alnimer said.

The company is committed to building a self-sustaining community of gamers, developers, and investors, creating an ecosystem where innovation, engagement, and growth can thrive.

Lucidia, based in Dubai, UAE specializes in merging classic gaming experiences with the innovative capabilities of blockchain technology.

This announcement comes as more investments are being made in the gaming sector in MENA and UAE. For example, GameCentric a new Web3 enabled MENA gaming platform which seeks to incorporate crypto and digital assets, raised $1.5 Million in capital from UAE Angel Investor, Bilal Merchant. The platform is currently live.

Dr Mohamed Abdallah and Dr Aiman Erbad, Associate Professors at  Qatar’s HBKU College of Science and Engineering published an article on how Qatar’s Blockchain blueprint will boost the adoption of blockchain and their recommendations for accelerating the growth. They proposed hosting a high-performance cloud based blockchain platform to accelerate prototyping and testing or creating a physically distributed blockchain network among different institutions, including ministries and universities, which can serve as a test bed that can also host actual blockchain applications, among other recommendations.

The College of Science and Engineering at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), as well as the College of Engineering at Qatar University (QU), and the Communications and Regulatory Authority jointly developed the National Blockchain Blueprint, aimed at defining the requirements and incentives necessary for the adoption of blockchain technology in Qatar.

As per the article, the blueprint has several goals, including facilitating the emergence of startups and new companies, identifying successful methods through pilot projects, promoting creativity and innovation, and upgrading infrastructure to enable a conducive environment for blockchain technology.

The authors also discuss various recommendations that could be incorporated within the Blockchain blueprint.

One of the key recommendations of the blueprint is to encourage the development of pilot projects in priority sectors such as Fintech, Energy, and Health.

The Blockchain blueprint also wants to provide an adequate incubation environment for promising blockchain startups. The authors recommend creating a new consortium-based funding organization that involves all stakeholders to promote blockchain-based startups and businesses.

To facilitate the deployment and testing of new blockchain applications, The authors also recommend hosting a high-performance cloud-based blockchain platform to accelerate prototyping and testing.

The final recommendation is to create a physically distributed blockchain network among different institutions, including ministries and universities, which can serve as a test bed that can host actual blockchain applications. By having a distributed network, blockchain-based solutions can be tested in a real-world environment, and the risks and potential opportunities can be identified.

Qatar has been moving forward with its blockchain initiatives and the Qatar Financial Centre Authority has been at the forefront of integrating blockchain, DLT, digital assets into the financial market. More recently they even discussed digital assets for Islamic Finance and signed an MOU with Malaysian Labuan IBFC well known for its Islamic finance products.

Finally and most recently Qatar Financial Authority were in discussions with Qatar Development Bank to discuss the need for digitization of products and services in digital assets, kYC, SMEFinance and the metaverse. 

It would seem that the Qatar Blockchain blueprint is moving forward in great strides. 

Zero Two, an ADQ sovereign wealth fund  entity, has launched its digital assets business in Abu Dhabi UAE to offer latest generation technologies. Zero Two will build and operate data center and offer digital asset management services as part of ADQ’s digital asset strategy. The name “Zero Two” is derived from the significance of the numerals 0 and 2 in Web3 technology.

Zero Two aims to become a trusted partner to companies seeking to capitalize on the broad innovative scope and transformative potential the technology offers. The company’s services range from developing power infrastructure to sourcing and testing latest generation technologies, to building and operating data centers, and providing digital assets management services.

Zero Two was created to develop, operate and invest in best-in-class technologies accelerating and supporting the digital asset and Web3 ecosystem in the region, which comprises concepts such as decentralization and token-based economics.

Commenting on the start of the company’s operations, Ahmed Al Hameli, Chief Executive Officer at Zero Two, said: “Digital assets hold vast potential that is only beginning to be explored and leveraged. Zero Two enters the market with a robust and broad business model catering to rapidly emerging demand and a demonstrated commitment to meeting the highest standards of security and compliance. We are confident that our offering that utilizes excess power from the local power grid, which is the first of its kind in the UAE and the wider region, will not only meet the needs of our clients but also exceed their expectations with regards to the various benefits that can be derived from deploying distributed ledger technologies.”

This is not the first digital assets entity to be owned by ADQ. ADQ also registered FSI ( FS Innovation) which entered into an agreement with USA based Marathon digital holdings, a digital asset mining entities to establish and operate one or more mining facilities for digital assets. The business entity will be in the field of digital asset/crypto mining. The initial phase will consist of two digital asset mining sites comprising 250 MW (megawatts) in Abu Dhabi UAE. Marathon Holdings will own 20% of the joint company in UAE only. The cost of the project will be $406 million.

In September 2022, Abu Dhabi’s ADQ and Further Ventures, an investment firm back by ADQ launched a $200 million fund focused on Fintech, digital assets and supplychain.  As per the news, entrepreneurs and experienced executives who choose to launch their next venture with Further will have access to product and engineering resources for concept development; seed capital required to take the business to Series A; and reserved capital for following on through multiple rounds of funding beyond capital investment.

Qatar’s National Blockchain Blueprint which was announced officially, is not much different from the National Blockchain Blueprint consultation paper that Qatar Communications Regulatory Authority published on its website back in August 2022. While the blueprint falls short of the aspirations of Qatar, on the ground things are moving forward. 

The Qatar National Blockchain Blueprint is not clear on many aspects and lacks  updated statistics and with a lot of out dated information that makes it look more like a research paper on blockchain rather than a national blueprint. Yet it does depict the interest and seriousness of Qatar towards Blockchain implementation.  

One of the most important points that stand out in the National Blockchain Blueprint is the discussion on the development of a solid regulatory and legal framework which the paper reveals are essential for enabling the investment environment an creating a strong industry.

The Blueprint also mentions the government entities that need to be involved in the regulation of blockchain activity which include Qatar Central Bank (QCB), for cryptocurrencies and financial transactions as well as what the blueprint calls ICO offerings. Also on the roster of government entities that will be involved is the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) with its Innovation Center for blockchain technology; Ministry of Justice, for formalizing  the legal framework, and the National Cybersecurity Agency, for data classification and cyber security.

Qatar’s Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) issued the National Blockchain Blueprint developed by CRA in collaboration with Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) and Qatar University (QU).

Ali al-Suwaidi, Technical Affairs Department director at CRA, stated,  “We are pleased to collaborate with HBKU and QU to issue the National Blockchain Blueprint for Qatar. Through the blueprint, we have set the most prominent opportunities that blockchain could bring to private and government sectors and outlined the necessities and incentives that must be provided by each sector for the technology adoption, which contributes to the development of emerging startups and pilot projects.”

He added: “I would like to invite all stakeholders to review the blueprint, so that we work together towards developing the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, supporting local and foreign investments and a knowledge-based economy to support achieving the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030. I want to thank HBKU and QU for all their efforts and cooperation in developing the blueprint and we look forward to expanding our collaboration in the future.”

Dr. Ahmed Elmagarmid , executive director, Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), HBKU, added, “We were delighted to work with the Communications Regulatory Authority and Qatar University on developing the National Blockchain Blueprint for Qatar”.

Qatar University College of Engineering dean Dr. Khalid Kamal Naji said, “We are proud to have contributed to the development of the National Blockchain Blueprint for Qatar, which is a crucial step towards realizing the country’s vision for a knowledge-based economy. Our collaboration with the Communications Regulatory Authority and Hamad Bin Khalifa University has allowed us to leverage our expertise in blockchain technology and promote its adoption across the public and private sectors.”

Sources in Qatar working closely with Qatar’s governmental entities told LaraontheBlock, “We are seeing a lot of movement happening in Qatar on the Blockchain front. Different Ministries across the country are all interested in implementing a national blockchain.”

Earlier this month, two blockchain announcements came out of Qatar demonstrating that the Gulf country is starting to utilize and grow DLT (Distributed Ledger Technologies) and Blockchain.  The first is the piloting of digital signatures and certificates to be validated on Qatar’s national blockchain network and the second is the inclusion of DLT in Qatar’s Central Bank Fintech strategy.

At the beginning of 2023 during a Bloomberg TV interview at WEF Davos event, Mansoor Al Mahmoud, CEO, of Qatar Investment Authority, reaffirmed the fund’s interest in investing in Blockchain technology, more precisely any application using Blockchain.

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund will use the current economic turmoil as an opportunity to rebalance its $450 billion portfolio. The Qatar Investment Authority is looking for opportunities in Europe, Asia and the US in sectors such as venture capital, fintech and sports except for crypto.

So while the National Blockchain blueprint announced today, may not be the best reflection of Qatar’s openness, interest and understanding of blockchain, on the ground things are moving in the right direction.