Dubai Free Zone: A Cryptocurrency Haven with 500+ Startups 

The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) has recently reported that the oil-rich Middle Eastern city is now home to more than 500 crypto-based startups, representing a staggering 23% jump from 2021.

The group further revealed, the city had attracted 3000 businesses in 2022, of which 343 were digital asset startups joining DMCC’s Free Zone, which would mean around 150 crypto-related startups were added in 2021.

Tax breaks and other incentives for startups

The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) is the city’s prime free zone, which provides startups with tax benefits and other incentives. In 2021, it created a crypto hub meant to provide coworking and networking space for entrepreneurs in the crypto and blockchain sectors. It is located in a 68-storey skyscraper in the Jumeirah Lake Towers area of Dubai.

While the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) is the regulatory body that acts as a watchdog over the crypto & blockchain tech, the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) — a UAE federal agency is also responsible for supervising the digital asset space.

“Backed by a strong regional macroeconomic landscape, DMCC has been efficiently accelerating its growth strategy throughout 2022, focusing on supporting its member companies in high-impact sectors such as Web3 and blockchain technologies, commodities, and global trade”, said Ahmed Bin Sulayem, the CEO of DMCC.

Last year, several crypto businesses joined the DMCC’s Free Zone to take advantage of the organization’s ambitions to thrive as a crypto hub.

Dubai, The new Web3 Capital of the World

With its progressive regulatory environment and a world-class technological ecosystem that meets the requirements of international businesses, the city has been touted as the World’s Web3 Capital by several industry leaders & media alike.

Last year his Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai launched Dubai’s Metaverse Strategy. The Strategy aims to provide more than 40,000 virtual jobs by 2030 and add $4 billion to the city’s economy in five years.

The city also launched the Higher Committee for the Future Technology and Digital Economy, which will design policies, analyze 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 centers and cloud computing.

Dubai’s New Crypto Law & The Road Ahead

Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid recently revealed a new crypto asset regulation and an independent regulatory body to govern digital assets & regulate the cryptocurrency sector.

Despite the strategic investments in the crypto ecosystem and the supposed ease of setting up a business, some entrepreneurs have found the journey complicated & troubling. Major crypto exchanges with provisional licenses such as haven’t opted to join DMCC’s free zone.

The center has reportedly partnered with Hong Kong-based venture capital firm Brinc to offer potential funding opportunities to DMCC crypto startups through its $150 million accelerator fund.