The UAE Central Bank announced the result of the Cop28 UAE Techsprint, where UK Blockchain solution provider ZERO13, was recognized in the category of “Innovative blockchain solutions in sustainable finance to scale up climate action. ZERO13 blockchain driven platform facilitates issuance, trading, clearing and settlements of carbon credits linked to tangible ESG (Environmental Sustainable Goals) using interoperable blockchains and APIs.

As per ZERO13 website, ZERO13 is helping to achieve Net Zero by combining AI and blockchain to restore trust in carbon credit markets, addressing green washing, double counting, price transparency, vertical silos and market fragmentation.

UAE TechSprint launched by The UAE Central Bank, COP28 presidency, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), and the Emirates Institute of Finance (EIF); is a global initiative that promotes  technology innovation in scaling sustainable finance, aligned with the CBUAE’s goals to drive digitalization, advanced technologies, and sustainability in the financial sector.

COP28 UAE TechSprint attracted 126 proposals from across 31 countries, engaging participation of financial innovators and developers from around the world. Following the submissions of proposals, 15 finalist teams were shortlisted and presented their prototypes to an independent panel of judges who selected the best solution in each of the three categories below.

Other winners included Intensel, from Hong Kong,  which was recognized in the category of “Innovative artificial intelligence solution to scale up sustainable finance and climate action” with their climate analytics platform that leverages artificial intelligence, satellite imagery and climate and financial models to measure and translate climate hazards into financial risk at the asset level.

In addition to  Evercomm, from Singapore, which was recognized in the category of “Innovative IoT and sensor technology solutions in sustainable finance to scale up climate action” with their IoT-powered digital emission disclosures and verification for industrial emission reduction strategies supporting compliance and sustainability-linked financing.

The teams behind these solutions along with the shortlisted participants will each be eligible to receiving an award to help them fund further development.

His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and COP28 President, said: “Effectively managing climate change demands finance that is both easily attainable, accessible, and economically feasible. I congratulate the teams behind these technological solutions aimed at fostering sustainable finance standards and instruments. These innovations have the capacity to enhance investor trust and more effectively channel capital to those most in need. COP28 remains steadfast in collaborating with its partners to implement tangible solutions, accelerating the expansion of climate action and expediting global initiatives for sustainable finance.”

His Excellency Khaled Mohamed Balama, Governor of CBUAE and Chairman of EIF, said: “The COP28 UAE TechSprint highlighted the crucial role of advanced technology innovations in sustainable finance to contribute to a more sustainable future. The initiative has brought to the fore innovative solutions from around the world that can be deployed to drive progress in scaling sustainable finance in line with CBUAE’s strategy with an emphasis on advancing digitalization, innovations, and sustainability in the financial sector. On behalf of the CBUAE, I am pleased to congratulate the participants for their innovative solutions and look forward to the impact of pioneering technological solutions to scale up sustainable finance.”

The Bahrain Economic Development Board announced that it has welcomed Singapore Based digital asset bank Whampoa Group to Bahrain. Whampoa will be setting up its new digital bank headquarters in Bahrain.

The digital bank, which offers integrated financial solutions to serve institutions, innovators, and sophisticated investors globally, including digital banking services and the trading, custody, and asset management of digital assets, will open its operations in Bahrain by the end of year.

In 2022, Whampoa Group had announced plans to raise $50 million for a crypto hedge fund and had announced plans to set up a venture capital fund to invest in digital assets.

“We are delighted that Whampoa Group intends to set up the headquarters of their new digital bank in Bahrain as they would benefit from Bahrain’s pro-innovation environment and forward-looking regulatory framework. The establishment of these types of institutions is vital to further strengthen the existing digital assets industry and this milestone opportunity directly aligns with Bahrain’s Economic Recovery Plan, which prioritizes digitization across the financial services sector,” Khalid Humaidan, EDB CEO, said.

“We were impressed by Bahrain’s solid reputation in the financial services sector, transparent regulatory framework, and ongoing pledge to collaborate and innovate. We are committed to providing secure and innovative digital financial solutions in line with global best practices and are confident that our digital bank will set a new benchmark for the industry. Whampoa is grateful for the support from the Bahrain EDB and the broader Team Bahrain ecosystem throughout the entire process.” Shawn Chan, Group Chief Executive Officer of Whampoa Group commented.

US based Poloniex, LLC, a Delaware company with its principal place of business in Boston, Massachusetts which previously operated an online trading and settlement platform previously doing business as Poloniex Inc. (hereinafter collectively “Poloniex”) has agreed to remit $7,591,630 to settle its potential civil liability for 65,942 apparent violations of multiple sanctions programs with countries such as Syria, Sudan, Iran, and Crimea with U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC.)

 As noted by OFAC, between January 2014 and November 2019, the Poloniex trading platform allowed customers apparently located in sanctioned jurisdictions to engage in online digital asset-related transactions consisting of trades, deposits, and withdrawals—with a combined value of $15,335,349, despite having reason to know their location based on both Know Your Customer information and internet protocol address data.

As per the OFAC statement, the settlement amount reflects OFAC’s determination that Poloniex’s apparent violations were not voluntarily self-disclosed and were not egregious.

The statement went on to read, “Although Poloniex made efforts to identify and restrict accounts with a nexus to Iran, Cuba, Sudan, Crimea, and Syria pursuant to its compliance program, certain customers apparently located in these jurisdictions continued to use Poloniex’s platform to engage in online digital asset-related transactions.”

Poloniex operations began in January 2014 by offering an online digital assets trading and settlement platform (“Poloniex Trading Platform”) that allowed customers to fund their accounts and conduct trading activity. Sixteen months later, in May 2015, Poloniex implemented a sanctions compliance program, which provided for a review of KYC information for new customers in jurisdictions subject to comprehensive OFAC sanctions; existing customers were not retroactively screened in this manner.

As a result, customers who had self-identified before May 2015 as residing in a sanctioned jurisdiction (i.e., customers who provided an address located within a sanctioned jurisdiction to Poloniex during the KYC process at the time of account opening) were generally able to continue using Poloniex’s platform. . Poloniex did not begin implementing a block on such IP addresses until June 2017. Poloniex implemented sanctions controls related to customers in the Crimea region of Ukraine only in August 2017.

 Although Poloniex made efforts to identify and restrict accounts with a nexus to Iran, Cuba, Sudan, Crimea, and Syria pursuant to its compliance program, certain customers apparently located in these jurisdictions continued to use Poloniex’s platform to engage in online digital asset-related transactions (the “Apparent Violations”).

Stablecoin issuer Circle acquired Poloniex in 2018, after which time, OFAC’s investigation concluded, the firm’s compliance measures “further improved,” specifically by closing accounts with IP addresses operating in Crimea. A group of investors, which included Tron founder Justin Sun, purchased the firm from Circle in 2019.

Singaporean start-up, KoinBasket, which recently received a 2 million USD pre-seed funding, is launching the UAE’s first crypto basket application. The company wants to make investing in crypto as easy as online shopping.

As per the press release, the crypto basket application will also provide the with superlative fundamental analysis from KoinBasket. The company is backed by marquee investors that include Angellist quant fund, Stonks fund, Kube VC cryptopreneurs like Polygon founder Sandeep Nailwal and Global CXOs from Ripple, Binance Citibank, Google, Accenture, Nomura, Fiserv and many more.

Elaborating on how KoinBasket’s collaboration with global crypto exchanges will transform the way the world invests in crypto assets, Co-Founder and CEO Khaleelulla Baig states, “The UAE is an emerging market for us and we are excited to launch a variety of basket options in the Emirates, which is rapidly growing to become a global crypto hub with proactive and encouraging regulations by the government under a visionary leadership. Investing in crypto assets can be both fascinating and terrifying considering the mind-blowing returns on investment and the inherent volatility displayed by most crypto assets. At KoinBasket, we believe that investing in well-researched and curated baskets can be more rewarding in the long term and offers a hassle-free option for millions of investors who are still contemplating investing in this booming asset class.”

Created with the aim of solving the challenge faced by crypto investors in studying and investing in crypto assets like crypto tokens and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), KoinBasket is simplifying the entire process by offering thematic and sector-based crypto baskets such as its Moon basket, G.O.A.T basket, NFT & Gaming basket, Internet sensation basket and many more that are in the pipeline.

The application has 0% transaction fees and initial investments starting from as low as AED 500 AED. Users can trade in multiple crypto tokens simultaneously with KoinBasket’s basket order facility while its unique health check engine scours crypto data for both red flags and lucrative investing opportunities, to provide them with alerts to take prompt action and rebalance their portfolios accordingly.

Mr. Baig said: “KoinBasket will be catering to more than 300 million crypto users across the top crypto exchanges in the world and bowling them over with our secure, convenient and user-friendly investment interface that can help them build a diversified crypto portfolio offering a broader market exposure beyond the top cryptocurrencies. With more baskets in the offing, including those that focus on decentralized finance (DeFi), KoinBasket will soon be synonymous with mutual fund/ETF investing, but for crypto assets.”

At The World Economic Forum in Davos UAE’s DP World, a global end to end logistics provider announced that it would be utilizing the metaverse not for social networks, entertainment or enhancing customer experience but for increasing operational efficiency.

This is the first time that a metaverse solution is being utilized in the logistics industry and for operational and educational purposes.

The Metaverse, DPMETAWORLD, will aim to bring cutting edge virtual solutions to real world supply chain challenges driving both efficiency and transparency. Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group chairman and CEO of DP World announced this during the World Economic Forum Annual meeting at Davos.

The DPMETAWORLD platform will be launched at the end of 2022. Bin Sulayem said: “At DP World, we don’t respond to change – we think ahead and anticipate it. We know that the industries of the future will not be industries of the hand, but of the mind. So we have to deploy industry-leading solutions and technology to embrace this shift. Our expansion into the metaverse will not only enhance customer experience and operational efficiency, but also allow us to be more sustainable and resilient for the future. These are vital across all our global operations.”

In DP World Tweet they state, for us the metaverse is not a buzzword but a business tool. 

DP World’s operations, span six continents, 80 ports and various logistics operations, the company is uniquely positioned to help customers accelerate the flow of goods into its logistics networks.

Mike Bhaskaran, group chief operating officer of digital technology at DP World, said: “The DPMETAWORLD will allow us to provide highly flexible, cost-effective supply chain solutions. The real benefit for our customers is being able to see and understand the whole supply chain from end to end, with full visibility, and create alternate routes in case of logistics bottlenecks. We are very excited about providing these unique solutions to help resolve real-world supply constraints.”

DP World will explore metaverse applications for its services, including simulations of warehousing and terminal operations, in so-called digital twins ,3D virtual versions of physical assets,  as well as container and vessel inspections.

Other customer-focused applications include enhanced retail market access, with the potential to extend DP World’s 1600+ showrooms at the Dubai Traders Market to an unlimited number of customers through an immersive shopping experience.

DP World also plans to benefit from the metaverse through fully immersive virtual training for its staff. In 2021, its Port & Terminal Training Centre in Jebel Ali trained more than 10,000 employees, totaling close to 34,880 training days.

As per DP World, replacing physical training with an immersive alternative in the metaverse will reduce the time it takes to train operations teams by 50%, slashing costs as well as increasing efficiency and safety and saving over 17,000 training days just in the UAE.

DP World since 2018 has been at the forefront when it came to digitization efforts utilizing Blockchain. In 2019, DP World signed an MOU with Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the Digital Silk Road Project which is blockchain enabled.

DP World also worked with Infor, a global leader in business cloud software specialized by industry,  for its Blockchain enabled Infor GT Nexus Commerce Network as the technology backbone to power its Global Supply Chain Platform Initiative.