The government of Ras Al Khaimah is set to unveil a new free zone designed for digital and virtual asset companies as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) strengthens its position as a magnet for players in the booming blockchain industry. .
Known as the RAK Digital Assets Oasis, this bespoke zone will serve as a dedicated and innovation-oriented space for unregulated activities in the sphere of virtual assets. The zone is scheduled to start accepting applications from the second quarter of 2023, according to an official government statement on Monday.
“We are building the free zone of the future for the companies of the future. As the world’s first free zone dedicated exclusively to digital and virtual asset companies, we look forward to supporting the ambitions of entrepreneurs around the world.”
The RAK Digital Assets Oasis will exclusively serve digital and virtual asset service providers within new and emerging sectors such as the metaverse, blockchain, utility tokens, virtual asset wallets, non-fungible tokens, decentralized autonomous organizations, decentralized applications and other Web3 -related companies.
RAK Digital Assets Oasis will provide a variety of support to companies, including adoption frameworks that foster innovation, expert advisory services, flexible workspaces, accelerators, incubators, sandboxes and access to financing, according to the statement.
The country is proactively offering incentives to entice digital companies to set up operations within its borders. In July, Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, announced that the first phase of the NextGenFDI initiative seeks to attract 300 digital companies within six to twelve months.
UAE as an alliance of Free Zones
Free zones, also called free trade zones, are designated economic districts that offer entrepreneurs full ownership of their businesses, as well as access to favorable tax regimes.
The United Arab Emirates has been channeling significant resources into infrastructure development and policy revision aimed at bolstering its attractiveness to businesses and entrepreneurs, in a bid to expand its non-oil economy.
According to a recent report by the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, the UAE’s digital economy is projected to grow to over $140 billion by 2031, up from its current value of approximately $38 billion.
Digital asset industry in Dubai
In March last year, Dubai implemented the, with the goal of establishing a cutting-edge legal framework that protects investors and sets global standards for governance within the virtual asset industry. This law is intended to promote the responsible expansion of the sector within the emirates.
In addition, it also gave rise to the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (Vara), an independent entity tasked with regulating the industry in Dubai’s free and special development zones, with the exception of the Dubai International Finance Center.
However, the central bank of the UAE, based in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, does not recognize cryptocurrencies as legal tender.