United Arab Emirates considers Crypto adoption “Key” in doubling its GDP

During the World Economic Forum’s Global Technology Governance Summit today, United Arab Emirates minister of economy Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri said that the country is planning to double its economy in 10 years and intends to do so by adopting cryptocurrency and asset tokenization. The UAE’s economy currently ranks 34th largest in the world.

Al Marri took part in a panel, titled the “Arrival of the token economy, from art to real estate,” and was joined by artist Harry Yeff and WEF executive Sheila Warren. Though the conversation mainly centered on the current hype of nonfungible tokens, Al Marri made sure to raise attention to forthcoming tokenization use cases and their regulation (in the UAE).

Al Marri revealed that the country is looking to grow its gross domestic product by 7% yearly, which would lead to the economy doubling its size by 2030. Tokenization is considered a key contributor to these ambitions, as “Tokenization compliments information-based economies,” according to the minister.

The UAE currently have several projects ongoing that spur the adoption of crypto in the country, including a study that is being conducted with the WEF on funding small and medium-sized enterprises by making use of a government-run token platform, possibly as part of a “regional token exchange” that is “in our agenda,” Al Marri said.

Al Marri commented on the role of governments and its ties to the ‘traditional’ economy and said the main goal is to protect investors as well as the larger financial system without stifling innovation. He then jokingly said “We’re a government, we’re good at regulation.”

The UAE minister made the call for collaboration so that everyone can benefit from the opportunities that cryptocurrency brings. And he highlighted two pain points that affect adoption: lack of “harmonized regulation” and lack of sufficient regulation. Collaboration is inevitable according to Al Marri in order to prevent cloistered bubbles of innovation and to ensure that new asset models, such as fractionalized ownership, benefit all involved.

Al Marri noted that fractionalized ownership brings along some real-world head spins while rhetorically asking: “If an apartment has fractionalized ownership, who pays the upkeep fees? If there’s a fractionalized painting, what happens when the painting gets stolen?”

The minister concluded and said that the UAE is ambitious and intend to step up and lead the pack.

“We understand the challenges as such, but we are experimenting, and allowing the UAE to be a site of experimentation.” 

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) recently enacted a 30-day window for the public to provide feedback on security tokens The DFSA is working hard to create a standardized framework for cryptocurrency regulations in the city.

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