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UAE's first Web3-focused free zone 'RAK DAO' launched in Ras Al Khaimah

Entrepreneurs in the free zone will have complete business ownership and freedom over tax rules and other regulations but must adhere to UAE's criminal laws

Shashank Bhardwaj
Published: Oct 20, 2023 04:23:22 PM IST
Updated: Oct 24, 2023 05:19:38 PM IST

UAE's first Web3-focused free zone 'RAK DAO' launched in Ras Al KhaimahSheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, inaugurated the RAK Digital Assets Oasis (RAK DAO).

On October 19, His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, inaugurated the RAK Digital Assets Oasis (RAK DAO), a new economic free zone for the development of digital assets, Web3, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) companies.

The RAK DAO is set to support many entrepreneurs and businesses in the Web3 space. It is dedicated to digital and virtual asset service providers (VASPs) in emerging technologies such as the metaverse, blockchain, utility tokens, non-fungible tokens, decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs), and other Web3-related businesses.

The entrepreneurs in the free zone will have complete ownership over their businesses. They can establish their own tax rules and regulatory frameworks but have to adhere to the existing criminal laws of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The RAK DAO and its ecosystem partners will run grant programs and offer tailored technical, marketing, and business development assistance.

In his opening remarks at the inauguration, Sheikh Saud said, “When we embarked on this… journey, our vision was to create a hub where digital assets could thrive, innovation could flourish, and groundbreaking ideas could come to light. We wanted to provide a platform to foster its growth and success. We observed that global trends and data point to the incredible opportunity digital assets offer, and we felt… that Ras Al Khaimah could and should benefit from being a first adopter.”

Since its establishment, RAK DAO has added several partners to help grow the ecosystem, including the HBAR Foundation, local bank RAKBANK, and the AI company Humans.ai, among its allies.

A memorandum of understanding was also signed at the inauguration between Maryam Buti Al Suwaidi, CEO of the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), and Sameer Al Ansari, CEO of RAK DAO, marking a significant collaboration.

There are over 40 free zones in the UAE, each with its own focus and specialisation. Some of those free zones are Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), Dubai Internet City (DIC), and Dubai Media City (DMC). RAK DAO is, however, the first free zone in UAE dedicated to the Web3 space.

The RAK DAO is expected to impact the web3 sector in the UAE significantly. It will provide much-needed support to businesses in the digital asset industry and attract entrepreneurs and companies from all over the world to the country. Additionally, the decision is expected to boost the economic diversification of Ras al Khaimah.

The writer is the founder at yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist. Twitter: @bhardwajshash

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