Ras Al Khaimah, one of the seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has recently unveiled its own free trade zone for digital assets, following in the footsteps of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Known as the RAK Digital Assets Oasis, this zone will serve as a hub for the development and support of blockchain, metaverse, and artificial intelligence (AI) projects. This move is part of Ras Al Khaimah’s economic plan to shift its focus from tourism and oil.
The official launch of the zone was attended by Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, as well as business leaders and startup founders from across the UAE. The plans for this Web3 hub have been in progress since March, with the aim of attracting companies involved in decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and digital wallets.
According to Sheikh Saud, the ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, the establishment of this free trade zone demonstrates the city’s commitment to embracing new technologies and driving sustainable economic growth in the region. The CEO of RAK Digital Assets Oasis, Dr. Sameer Al Ansari, revealed that the zone will offer grants, tax relief, regulatory support, and technical assistance to attract businesses to the region.
The RAK Digital Assets Oasis will provide additional benefits such as subsidies on rent, a blockchain pool for Web3 companies, business development support, and a clear legal framework. Ras Al Khaimah hopes to leverage its transition to digitalization to create job opportunities for its residents and increase its share of the UAE’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Currently, Ras Al Khaimah is not as prominent as Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the field of digital assets. Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) is home to numerous Web3 startups, thanks to a recent $2 billion initiative. Dubai also hosts leading global exchanges. However, with the launch of the RAK Digital Assets Oasis, Ras Al Khaimah aims to catch up and make its mark in the digital asset space.
In the Middle East, the UAE has emerged as the leading blockchain hub, with various government-backed initiatives exploring the potential use cases of this technology. While different emirates within the UAE have introduced their own regulations for digital currencies, the country plans to establish national regulations, according to the Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Thani Al-Zeyoudi.
Regarding AI, the UAE is competing with Saudi Arabia, as both countries have made substantial investments in the technology. The UAE recently placed a significant order for NVIDIA’s latest line of AI chips. However, there are concerns about potential human rights violations stemming from the UAE’s use of AI.
In conclusion, Ras Al Khaimah’s launch of the RAK Digital Assets Oasis marks another step in the UAE’s adoption of digital assets and emerging technologies. The zone aims to attract companies involved in blockchain, metaverse, and AI, while offering various incentives and support. Through this initiative, Ras Al Khaimah hopes to diversify its economy, create jobs, and contribute to the UAE’s overall economic growth.