On July 18 2022, Dubai, the leading crypto hub in the Middle East, launched the Dubai Metaverse Strategy with the aim of turning it into one of the top 10 metaverse economies. 

The world is on its way to a metaverse revolution. While some countries have focused on crypto regulations, a few others have been working on innovative metaverse solutions and making room for metaverse-related businesses. 

Even though the metaverse sector is still in its infancy, the UAE and its cities, more so Dubai, are emerging as forerunners in the metaverse revolution. 

According to the Emirates News Agency, this initiative was launched by Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

What exactly is the Dubai Metaverse Strategy?

In detail, the Dubai Metaverse Strategy is a 5-year plan to strengthen the emirate’s metaverse and blockchain sectors. The Strategy aims to quintuple the number of blockchain and metaverse companies from around 1,000 to 5,000. 

Additionally, it aims to create 40,000 new metaverse-related jobs and add a whopping $4 billion to its economy. Most importantly, Dubai aims to become the number one metaverse city in the region and top 10 worldwide. 

In order to achieve this, the Strategy focuses on artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, digital assets and web3 as the pillars of this revolution. This aligns with the UAE’s AI strategy to enhance its status as one of the world’s leading countries in futuristic innovations. 

Dubai Metaverse Strategy graphics

Another critical pillar of the Dubai Metaverse Strategy is research and development collaboration (R&D). This will enhance the metaverse’s economic contribution to the country through accelerators and incubators that foster a positive innovative environment for companies and projects from across the globe. The R&D initiative will also provide support and metaverse education to developers, content creators and the community. 

The Strategy’s key pillars also extend to augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and a mixture of reality and digital twins – the virtual relationship between a physical object and its virtual representation. According to Al Maktoum’s report, VR and AR have already created over 6,700 jobs and added $500 million to the UAE’s economy. 

Last but not least, the Strategy also suggests promoting the deployment and adoption of 5G networks to enhance data collection, sharing and processing locally via smart devices and local networks instead of relying on cloud services.

Some of the crypto companies making headway in the UAE

UAE metaverse companies with binance logo

The crypto-friendly approach in the UAE has also been put on the crypto map, attracting numerous companies. The Singapore-based firm Fintonia group recently announced that it had secured a license from the Dubai Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority [VARA]. With this, the firm plans to expand its services to the UAE. VARA also announced on May 4 that it had become the first regulatory body in the world to make its debut in the metaverse by establishing its Metaverse HQ.

The firm plans to move towards Web3 companies and offer treasury and balance sheet management services to crypto firms, blockchain protocol, and Bitcoin miners. 

Moreover, Fintonia founder Chng said, “Dubai is making significant strides towards establishing itself as a virtual assets hub and creating a conducive environment for the industry’s growth, and we are very pleased to be part of this rapid growth.” 

Dubai is also home to some of the most prominent cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance, Crypto.com, Huobi, OKX and FTX. Moreover, the crypto community in the city also speculates that several more platforms could soon be veering into the space. 

According to Changpeng Zhao, chief executive of Binance, the open mindset and a business-friendly attitude that Dubai offers to crypto companies has been one of the key factors attracting crypto exchanges to the city.