Why Dubai is the most crypto-ready city in the Middle East

Dubai has been called the most crypto-ready city in the Middle East and the second in the overall world in 2023. It’s recently consolidated its status as the world’s web3 capital thanks to progressive regulations and robust infrastructure. It’s no easy feat to become a global capital in advanced technology – today, we’re taking a closer look at what the presence of web3 looks like in this dynamic metropolis. 

The growth of web3: Why now?

By definition, web3 is a more advanced version of the internet that seeks to give power back to the users and its core values are based on blockchain and cryptocurrency technology. So, why is it one of the hottest topics facing the games industry today?

It’s simple: There has never been a time where data ownership is more important. Having control over your own identity and personal information online is becoming increasingly important for web users, and it’s also a key concern of businesses looking for greater freedom in online interactions. Authorities across industries are quickly adopting this emerging technology to garner the benefits of increased data security, scalability and privacy for users. 

Defining blockchain

To sum up the definition of blockchain as per IBM

  • Blockchain is a shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network. An asset can be tangible (a house, car, cash, land) or intangible (intellectual property, patents, copyrights, branding). Virtually anything of value can be tracked and traded on a blockchain network, reducing risk and cutting costs for all involved.

The definition might be a tad convoluted, so in simpler words: A blockchain ledger is maintained and supported by every user that’s on the blockchain, it’s decentralised which means that every user on the blockchain has a complete copy of the blockchain and every transaction that occurs on the blockchain is completely traceable and available for all to see. It’s a method of storing entries that cannot be changed after it’s recorded, which is immensely helpful where keeping records secure is important, for example with medical records, identity management, food traceability and voting. 

How does the blockchain affect the games industry?

Blockchain gaming has the potential to massively improve the games industry as we know it today, and the current opportunities to tap into in the industry include… 

  1. The demand for a safe and secure environment for gamemakers to develop and launch games and securely monetise them. 
  2. A secure space for gamers to buy and sell in-game currency that can potentially make them real life income. Gamers spend real money on games, through the blockchain, they can make real money on games as well. 
  3. Enhanced collaboration between players and gamemakers that will drive innovation forward – with this technology, there is active communication and endless opportunities for gamers to disrupt the gaming market through contributing to the decision-making process when it comes to new game features.

If the presence of these opportunities in the space tells us anything, it’s that we need to get ahead of the curve and get in on this industry-changing technology before the games industry is completely disrupted by the segment and we’re running to catch up. 

Blockchain in the MENA region

We may often associate the West with the “de facto capital” for global technology, but as the MENA region continues to leap ahead with development of digital innovation and emerging blockchain technology, all eyes are shifting to the increasing significance of the region in the crypto market. 

The MENA region has already established itself as a major hub for FinTech. Top companies from all around the world are actively flocking to the region to establish and expand blockchain enterprise solutions, including three UAE-based companies (New Technology Systems, Intertec and Konvexe) partnering with Singaporean Block Armour and Blockchain WorxSG. PWC estimated that blockchain market potential for 2024 includes $3.2 billion stemming from the MENA region, which shows just how quickly the technologies are being adopted and are predicted to expand. The UAE was also ranked as the third most attractive market globally for blockchain start-ups in 2022, with the country boasting close to 120 blockchain start-ups or 1.2 blockchain start-ups per 100,000 people.

How exactly is the MENA region adopting blockchain as we speak? The UAE is staking a position as a trailblazing global leader for blockchain already, Iran is developing a blockchain-based banking platform, Bahrain is tapping into blockchain for shipping supply chain, Egypt is streamlining foreign remittances, Israel’s blockchain start-ups are flourishing, Oman and Saudi Arabia are entering deals with IBM, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Blockchain in the MENA region is still thought to be in its nascent stages, which makes it a prime opportunity to get involved in.

Governments in the region are eager to promote blockchain-based projects and are developing foundations to support them. They are outlining policy for blockchain-based financial and contractual transactions and embracing blockchain and digital assets that encourage blockchain and crypto companies to invest in the region and further innovate. Government support has already eased regional banks’ adoption of blockchain-powered exchange systems, and the popularity is only expected to grow in the future. 

The region’s business sector and its governing bodies have expressed genuine interest in innovating and paving their way to global leadership in the cryptocurrency market, and ultimately, this commitment and investment in building these technologies is what makes for a thriving crypto economy.

Dubai and web3

Dubai, as of 2023, is considered to be the most crypto-ready city in the Middle East and the world’s second most crypto-ready city overall just behind London as per a report by cryptocurrency asset management specialist Recap. Dubai is home to 772 crypto-based companies and presents incredible business opportunities through an inviting business environment that attracts foreign investors to the area.

A representative from the company spoke on Dubai’s ranking, saying “Dubai comes in second place as it pushes to become the leading centre for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in the Middle East, following a year of multiple new laws for crypto exchanges to operate in the city. One recent YouGov survey also found that two-thirds of UAE adults are interested in cryptocurrency. With low tax, Dubai is an appealing place to live for crypto investors, and may be the second choice for some UK residents, as Holborn Assets revealed 200,000 Britons currently reside in the city. Dubai also has 772 crypto-based companies for residents to choose from when it comes to finding a career in the sector.”

The current web3 economy in Dubai is considered to be paving the way in web3 innovation by building one of the biggest and most dynamic Web3 hubs in the world, featuring over hundreds of active corporations in its Web3 ecosystem and being the yearly host to various web3 events. Announced and supported by Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed in 2022, Dubai’s Metaverse Strategy is focused on increasing the contribution of the metaverse to the UAE’s overall economy. The leaders of Dubai aim to make the emirate one of the world’s top metaverse economies, with the goal to attract over 1,000 different blockchain and metaverse companies to Dubai and supporting over 40,000 virtual jobs by 2030. Back in 2020, PwC estimated that VR and AR technology could contribute a further $4 billion to Dubai’s economy, which could truly establish these emerging technologies as an integral part of Dubai’s economy in the long-term.

The metaverse strategy is already underway with the formation of a Higher Committee for Future Technology and Digital Economy set to design policies, analyse trends and supervise the implementation of strategies related to the digital economy and future technologies, including the metaverse, AI, blockchain, Web3, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), the Internet of Things (IoT), data centres and cloud computing. Dubai is the world’s first and only jurisdiction that has set up a dedicated virtual assets regulator to provide investor protection, economic security and market transparency. The city is establishing itself as a pioneer in new-age business sectors such as FinTech and eCommerce, ranking first in the Middle East and within the top 20 globally in a Digital Cities Index by The Economist last year, and its leadership position in the realm of web3 is only expected to be further solidified in the coming years. 

A prime example of the emerging technologies includes a new horizon when it comes to the fusion of real estate and blockchain technology, and it’s taking place in Dubai. An innovative project called Bitcoin Tower was recently unveiled, and it’s what you might expect: a groundbreaking initiative fusing real estate and the decentralised web that merges together physical and virtual versions of this tower. The entrepreneur leading the project believes it can solidify the UAE’s leadership stance on cryptocurrencies and provide a hub for the crypto community, as a significant step towards integrating crypto into everyday life starting in one of the world’s most innovative cities, Dubai.  

Join us in Dubai this summer!

Join PG Connects and Dubai Economy and Tourism to bring an unmissable games conference experience to the dynamic city of Dubai, in the fastest growing region of the international games industry and an emerging global centre for web3. The GameExpo Summit powered by PG Connects will be held at the Dubai Exhibition Centre in the most crypto-ready city in the Middle East this summer. Buying a ticket to the Dubai GameExpo Summit grants you access to the wider Dubai Esports and Games Festival taking place over the week of June 21st to 25th, so the value of this ticket is immense.

Head over to our official sales partner website and secure your ticket today!

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