A recent Arab News article which showcased how crypto is going mainstream confirms that investments in crypto space will reach 500 million USD across GCC in 2022. Crypto has gone mainstream within a very short span of time as the Middle East region is making major strides in digital assets with a slew of new regulatory measures and investments in crypto space.

“I see this as very positive news that will hopefully lead to massive adoption for digital assets in the region,” said Zina Ashour, co-founder and marketing director of iOWN, a regional tech company that invests in developing fintech solutions built on blockchain. This means that the regulators want to be part of the big movement toward digitizing the financial sector via blockchain and cryptocurrency.

The digital economy contributes about 4.3 percent of the GDP in the UAE, which is equivalent to 100 billion dirhams ($27 billion). There are more than 1,400 startups in the country, with 1.5 billion dirhams allocated to them. The emirate has 90 investment funds in the digital sector and 12 business incubators. While the total value of startups in the country is estimated to be 90 billion dirhams.

“From a regulatory perspective, we have reached escape velocity,” said Ola Doudin, CEO and co-founder of BitOasis, a UAE-based digital asset trading exchange and platform. This is attributed to the momentum and competitive dynamic among policy makers and regulators when it comes to Virtual asset service providers.

Doudin explained that this trend is driven by two factors one is the realization that Web 3.0 is upon us, adoption rates are high; and enabling Web 3.0 through balanced regulation will attract investment, create jobs, and position countries as centers of innovation. “We expect to see other GCC and MENA markets follow suit over the next 12 to 24 months,” she added.

Doudin added that 19 out of 20 top crypto-markets (by weighted crypto activity) are in the emerging or developing economies. “So it’s not surprising that when a territory announces it has introduced a regulatory framework such as the ones sweeping across the UAE right now . There is naturally a surge of interest and investment.” She estimates venture investment into the sector across the GCC will exceed $500 million this year alone.

Currently, the digital economy contributes about 4.3 percent of the GDP in the UAE, which is equivalent to $27 billion, according to the latest statistics from the Dubai Chamber for Digital Economy.

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