The Cardano Foundation has today announced a strategic partnership with Dubai Blockchain Center (DBCC), a leader in technological innovation. This exciting collaboration is set to empower and expand the Cardano community, welcoming both current enthusiasts and newcomers to explore the unique aspects of the Cardano technology. The partnership will establish a certification program tailored for Cardano enthusiasts. This initiative will offer specialized training seminars designed to educate, certify individuals and organizations on the advanced features and enterprise applications of the Cardano blockchain.

Both the Cardano Foundation and the Dubai Blockchain Center are deeply committed to advancing education and understanding of blockchain technology. This partnership will leverage educational materials developed by the Cardano Foundation’s subject matter experts, incorporating content from the Cardano Academy to create customized, in-person training seminars. This long-term collaboration aims to significantly enhance the knowledge and adoption of blockchain technology across the MENA region, working towards an offering of certified courses.

Speaking about the partnership today, Frederik Gregaard, CEO of the Cardano Foundation, stated, “We’re excited to sign and to announce this partnership with Dubai Blockchain Center today. Blockchain is a vital technology that has the potential to change the course of how society operates for the betterment of all. Education is essential to achieving that change. By partnering with noted and established leaders in the space, particularly one as successful, prestigious, and visionary as Dubai Blockchain Center, we are able to expand the reach and the efficacy of that educational focus.”

Dr Marwan Alzarouni, CEO of Dubai Blockchain Center and Senior Advisor to Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism, added, “We are thrilled to announce our partnership with the Cardano Foundation—especially as this aligns with DBCC’s mission to promote education, training, and research in blockchain technology. This collaboration aims to provide a new generation of blockchain enthusiasts with customized educational programs and revolutionary technology solutions designed specifically for supporting the application and understanding of Cardano’s advanced blockchain technology. Together, we are committed to helping improve the level of blockchain integration in a variety of sectors to catalyze their innovation, plus enhance their level of impact and adoption at an international level.”

The partnership also deepens the growing connections between the Cardano Foundation and some of the most influential institutions and stakeholders in both Dubai and the Middle East. In 2023, the Cardano Foundation brought its renowned blockchain conference, the Cardano Summit, to Dubai for the first time. This year, it will once again return to Dubai to host the Cardano Summit from the 23rd to the 24th of October. 

Frederik Gregaard concluded: “Dubai is increasingly being recognized as one of the leading locations for blockchain technology, with a continued investment in and dedication to the advancement of blockchain utility. By deepening our connections in Dubai and this region, the Cardano Foundation will continue to drive forward the adoption and operational resilience of this key technology.”

Dubai Blockchain center also recently partnered with BitLayer a Layer 2 bitcoin platform.

UK headquartered Luminous Group, which provides immersive training programs, using metaverse technologies has raised $1.2 million from North East venture fund, and Mercia as its sets up a presence in the Middle East.

As per the release, the funding will enable the Luminous Group to roll its technology out to a wider audience and create 10 new jobs in the year ahead. It comes as the company is set to open a third office in the Middle East to support its growing client base in the region.

Luminous has already won a major contract from a leading Middle East energy company and recently opened an international office in Bahrain. It plans to open an office in Saudi Arabia later this year, and launch a global marketing campaign. The funding will also enable it to further enhance its platform to make it fully ‘self service’, enabling companies to create their own training programmes, and to launch a new marketplace where training providers can sell their own content.

The Luminous XR (extended reality) platform – which incorporates augmented, mixed and virtual reality – enables users to create training programs quickly and efficiently and track students’ progress. The system, which is ideal for energy companies and manufacturers, can recreate real-life situations including hazardous environments in a safe and repeatable way.

Luminous is run by Ben Bennett, CEO, and Nigel Hope.. Mercia Ventures first invested in 2017 to help it develop the platform. The latest round is the third to date and brings the total received by the company to over £1.9m, which includes funding from the NEVF and Mercia’s EIS funds.

Ben Bennett said: “While it is still early days for the ‘metaverse’, VR and XR technologies have matured significantly and the launch of Apple’s first mixed-reality headset next year is expected to boost awareness and drive global demand. The funding received from Mercia puts Luminous in a strong position to capitalize on that.”

Chris McCourt of Mercia Ventures said: “Current training techniques used in industry are expensive and outdated. Immersive training in a virtual environment could significantly improve performance but creating such programs has been challenging until now. The Luminous XR platform is enabling much wider adoption. This latest investment will enable the company to scale its business and become a global leader in XR training.”

Saudi Aramco has signed a memorandum of agreement with Data Gumbo, a US based Blockchain technology company which developed a blockchain as a service platform to streamline smart contracts management for industrial customers. The agreement between Saudi Aramco and Data Gumbo is for Blockchain collaboration over a three year term.

This is not the first time Saudi Aramco has dealt with Data Gumbo. In August 2022, Saudi Aramco’s investment arm Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures made its fourth investment in Data Gumbo series C round where Data Gumbo raised $4million. The round was led by Saudi Aramco Ventures and Equinor, Norway’s energy operator.

As per the Data Gumbo blog post, “ Data Gumbo is proud to announce that on 8 February, 2023 we entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Saudi Aramco for Blockchain Collaboration.  The agreement has a 3 year term. We are honored by the opportunity to deepen our collaboration and look forward to several transformational projects in the coming years.”

The MOU was signed by Mohamed Marzouk, Saudi Arabia Country Manager and Saudi Aramco’s Senior Vice President, Digital and Information Technology Mr. Nabil Al-Nuaim in Riyadh.

As per the agreement the Areas of collaboration will include, accelerating digital transformation within the Oil & Gas Industry, exploring,  identifying and co-innovating blockchain use, improving operational efficiency and driving ROIU with Aramco, its customers and suppliers, providing blockchain training and finally identifying potential applications for managed blockchain services

UAE is building its digital economy organically by educating its government employees as well as acquiring it internationally by attracting international tech players and their talents. Not only has the country come out with a new initiative to attract 300 global tech firms, but it is also working with Chainalysis to train its government employees on all things blockchain and crypto (virtual assets).  

In recent news announced, Minister of State for foreign trade, Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, launched the “NextGenFDI” that aims to attract 300 global tech firms as well as software developers, data scientists, and coders.

The start of the initiative is through partnerships already inked out with seven major firms and business districts that include Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC),  Dubai South, DMCC,  Dubai Internet City, Emirates NBD and digital bank WIO.

Al Zeyoudi said international businesses “are approaching us and asking how they can relocate their talent, ideas, and high-growth ventures to the UAE.  The global interest in 2022 is unprecedented and while we are already working with some, we know many more want to follow suit. We want to ensure that the world’s most promising digital companies can access all the benefits that our attractive, business-friendly environment offers – but we also want to make it easy for them.”

The minister said they are introducing measures to make market entry for companies and workers simpler. These include fast incorporation processes to speed up licensing, bulk visa issuances, banking facilitation and commercial and residential lease incentives.

This is in line with UAE’s establishing 1,000 new digital companies and increase investments in startups from $400 million to $1.3 billion.

But that is not all, on the governmental front, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and teleworking applications, Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama signed an MOU with Bas Lemmens, General Manager for EMEA at Chainalysis to provide virtual training programs for government employees in the areas of Blockchain and virtual assets.

For those who don’t know Chainalysis, it provides data, software, services, and research to government agencies, exchanges, financial institutions, insurance and cybersecurity companies in over 70 countries. Their data platform powers investigation, compliance, and risk management tools that have been used to solve some of the world’s most high-profile cyber-criminal cases and grow consumer access to cryptocurrency safely.

This would allow employees to develop their skills. Al Olama stated that strengthening partnerships with pioneering companies and empowering government entities with the latest tools and advance technologies play a pivotal role in enhancing the readiness of the UAE government, through exchanging experiences and global success stories. Blockchain technology is key to creating innovative solutions for future challenges, which contributes to developing government work and new technologies that enhance the UAE’s leading position globally, he added.

The MoU also aims to enhance the utilization of Blockchain technologies in building a smart future for the UAE.

Michael Gronager, CEO and Co-Founder of Chainalysis, said, “We are honored to be selected by the UAE to play a supporting role in up skilling government entities through knowledge in Blockchain that have the potential to serve as one of the essential digital tools in promoting a robust digital economy.”

Bas Lemmens, added “We are very proud to partner with the UAE government in supporting its initiatives in adopting blockchain, analysis tools and training through the ‘UAE Chainalysis Centre of Excellence’ to implement new technologies that will help drive new business opportunities. We want to build trust in blockchains and drive the adoption of digital assets.”

As of today there are more than 1000 blockchain and crypto companies who have set up in UAE. With these initiatives this number is