Gulf Crypto Insight: Hot crypto news from the MENA region – November 18

    20 Nov 2022
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    Top crypto news from the Middle East region over the last week (Nov. 11 –17, 2022):

    UAE regulator adopts blockchain to speed up commercial judgments

    A judicial authority established by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Federal Decree has adopted blockchain technology to save time and costs related to the enforcement of commercial judgments.

    ADGM Courts, an authority that supports the financial regulator Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM), has implemented blockchain technology to help save significant time for the parties in the judicial process. Digitization through blockchain technology will allow courts and parties to immediately access commercial judgments – a move aimed at easing judicial processes for international trade and commerce.

    FTX went to bankruptcy in a week after fundraising trips to Saudi Arabia and UAE

    FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried made desperate fundraising trips to the Middle East before his empire, company and personal wealth came crashing down, Arabian Business reported.

    Binance receives approval as an institutional crypto custodian in Abu Dhabi

    Crypto exchange Binance has secured permission from financial regulators in Abu Dhabi to operate as a crypto custodian for institutional clients. This is the latest crypto license for the company in the UAE. Binance received the regulatory nod from Abu Dhabi’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA). This body is a unit of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), which functions as the financial center of the UAE’s capital city.

    Binance CEO spoke at Abu Dhabi Finance Week

    Speaking on Nov. 16 on the main stage at Abu Dhabi Finance Week (ADFW), Binance CEO Changpeng CZ Zhao stood in support of crypto, saying that crypto is the future, despite cryptocurrency exchange FTX filing for bankruptcy last week.

    In an interview with Mike Novogratz, the CEO of Galaxy Digital Holdings, Zhao continued to discuss his relationship with Abu Dhabi and further interest in the Gulf. The Binance CEO also announced that there is one market maker on his platform that he’s invested in, but that it’s for liquidity and registered in Bahrain.

    Abu Dhabi Crypto Hub, “Future of Finance Youth Circle” launched

    Holding its third day of sessions and panel discussions under the overarching theme of “Crypto Abu Dhabi”, Abu Dhabi Finance week witnessed the launch of Abu Dhabi Crypto Hub by Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the international financial center (IFC) of the UAE’s capital.

    The launch of the Abu Dhabi Crypto Hub is “an important representation of the strategic initiatives taken by ADGM in support of economic diversification and the growing role of Abu Dhabi as a financial hub, addressing the current and future needs of the market through innovative technologies,” ADGM claims.

    Crypto Oasis to be the regional partner for Algorand Decipher conference in Dubai

    Dubai-based crypto ecosystem Crypto Oasis has been announced as the official regional partner for Algorand’s annual flagship Decipher conference, which will take place in Dubai from November 28-30 at Madinat Jumeirah. They will also continue throughout 2023 with the Algorand Foundation as an official Crypto Oasis ecosystem partner. More than 120 speakers will participate in the conference across four stages in over 60 sessions.

    The partnership with Crypto Oasis will enable Algorand to gain exposure to the regional blockchain ecosystem, which is growing exponentially throughout the UAE and the broader Middle East.

    Co-founder of Russia’s largest crypto pyramid Finiko arrested in UAE

    Zygmunt Zygmuntovich, a co-founder and high-ranking representative of arguably the largest Ponzi scheme in Russia since MMM in the 1990s, has been captured in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Russian portal “Business Online” reported on Nov. 17. The close associate of the crypto pyramid’s mastermind left the Russian Federation as the scam collapsed last summer.

    According to the publication, the 24-year-old man, a German national, has been held in a prison in the Gulf state since early September. Russian prosecutors told the news outlet they were informed about his detention by the local Interpol bureau. Russia has already filed an extradition request with the country’s Ministry of Justice which is currently under consideration by the competent authorities in Abu Dhabi.

    Luxury hotel in Dubai starts accepting payments in Shiba Inu

    One of the UAE’s high-rated luxury hotels has embraced cryptocurrency payments and allows visitors to reserve hotel rooms by paying with Shiba Inu coin (SHIB). The Dubai-located five-star restaurant named ‘W Dubai – The Palm’ is owned by Marriott International and facilitates visitors with around 350 guest rooms. 

    Launched in 2020, Shiba Inu is currently ranked 14th in terms of market cap and gained popularity by profiting investors with massive gains in this period. 

    Phoenix Technology signs new distributor agreement with MicroBT, selling their WhatsMiner brand

    Phoenix Technology, one of the leading crypto mining hardware retailers in the Middle East and part of the wider Phoenix Group of companies, announced on Nov. 18 that it has entered a strategic, exclusive, regional partnership agreement with MicroBT, a technology company based on blockchain – to sell their WhatsMiner brand in the GCC countries (UAE, Bahrain, KSA, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait), Egypt and Turkey market.

    QU, TASMU and MCIT organize blockchain adoption workshop in Qatar 

    Qatar University’s (QU) College of Engineering (CENG) and TASMU Innovation Lab (i-Lab) held a second industrial stakeholders’ workshop at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) headquarters, titled Blockchain Technology in Supply Chains Stakeholders Workshop, gathering executives from major technology provider organizations as well as information technology and business academics. 

    The workshop focused on showcasing the recent developments on blockchain research frameworks and its applications in the context of industry supply chains.

    FIFA World Cup Qatar has got its own crypto games

    Ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, FIFA has announced its own NFT-themed games being released in celebration of the World Cup. 

    Among them are Upland, one of the biggest metaverse experiences where players can buy virtual real estate; Phygtl, a fan engagement app that is available on mobile devices; Altered State Machine – AI League, an actual 4v4 football mini-game, where players play against AI controlled characters putting their teams to the test as an in-game manager. Moreover, there is an upcoming meme token that looks to take the market by storm by the name of Big Eyes Coin (BIG).

    Predict-and-Earn app Pooky launching free-to-play public beta ahead of FIFA World Cup Qatar

    Pooky, the forthcoming gamified Web3 sports prediction platform, will release its free-to-play version in public beta on Nov. 16, 2022. The announcement follows Pooky’s closed alpha release on Oct. 21, which received extremely positive feedback.

    The free-to-play beta launch of the much-anticipated game will be available in time for the FIFA World Cup, which kicks off a few days later on Nov. 20, and will run throughout the tournament. Those participating in the public beta will receive a whitelist spot to mint an exclusive Genesis Pookyball (NFTs) during the project’s private sale in January 2023.

    Crypto exchange CoinW sponsored the Globe Soccer Awards 2022 ceremony

    On Nov. 17, at the Madinat Jumeirah Hotel in Dubai, the 13th Global Soccer Awards Ceremony was grandly held. Cryptocurrency Exchange CoinW, which officially sponsored the Globe Soccer Awards, is the world’s first world-class comprehensive cryptocurrency asset trading platform that cooperates with the Globe Soccer Awards.

    The Dubai Globe Soccer Awards is known as the Dubai D’or in the football world, bringing together top stars in the Soccer circle. Since it was officially held in 2010, the Dubai Globe Soccer Awards has become the biggest carnival for fans every year. All votes for the Awards are conducted online, giving everyone a sense of participation.

    Iranian hackers compromise US government network in crypto generating scheme

    Iranian government-sponsored hackers compromised the network of an unnamed US federal government agency starting in February, stealing passwords on the network and installing software to generate cryptocurrency, US officials said on Nov. 16.

    Though the hack likely began in February, officials at the Department of Homeland Security responded to the breach in June to clean up the network of the civilian agency, the FBI and DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said in a public advisory. The hackers exploited a widely known vulnerability that CISA sounded the alarm about in December 2021.

    Business expert Kevin O’Leary to speak at Middle East Blockchain Awards

    Kevin O’Leary, Chairman of O’Leary Ventures and star of ABC’s Shark Tank, has delivered the keynote speech at the first edition of the Middle East Blockchain Awards (MEBA), held on Nov. 18 at the W Abu Dhabi on Yas Island.

    O’Leary is heading to Abu Dhabi as Ambassador of a business expansion initiative called Access Abu Dhabi – a Maven Global Access (MGA) program powered by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office that ultimately serves as a conduit for companies entering the capital city’s burgeoning business and innovation ecosystem. As part of the MGA program, O’Leary has made three trips to Abu Dhabi in the last two years.

    Established to recognize and reward outstanding efforts within the blockchain and Web 3.0 innovation, MEBA is hosted by Hoko Agency Middle East in association with Abu Dhabi Finance Week, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Crypto and Blockchain Association (MEAACBA), and Arabian Business Magazine.

    WAHED Coin to list on LBank exchange on December 5

    WAHED Coin, the native cryptocurrency of the WAHED ecosystem, is to be listed on LBank on December 5. The asset powers a growing array of features within WAHED’s next-generation investment hub. The project embraces blockchain technology to assist businesses and make global investing and philanthropy more transparent. The listing of WAHED Coin on LBank will make the digital asset available to a global audience, empowering them to tap into the opportunities in the ecosystem.

    Cypher Capital backs UAE’s Rekt Studios

    Rekt Studios, a UAE-based blockchain startup, has secured $1.5 million in funding from Cypher Capital. Rekt said the funding will go towards the development of its gaming metaverse ecosystem, Unseen. According to the startup, Unseen is a “fully immersive, interoperable decentralized virtual ecosystem centered around gaming, built to be accessible directly through the ownership of any Ethereum Virtual Machine-compatible Non-Fungible Token (NFT) in existence.”

    Launched this year in Dubai, Cypher Capital is a $100 million VC fund focused on backing startups in Web3, blockchain, crypto, and other digital assets. Founded in 2021 by Elie Rizek, Rekt Studios provides developers and designers with tools to develop blockchain-based products.

    BIC to accept crypto payments through Binance

    Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) has signed a payment services agreement with Eazy Financial Services (EazyPay), a payment services provider. The agreement was signed at the headquarters of the BIC in Sakhir in the presence of chief commercial officer Sherif Al Mahdi and EazyPay founder and chief executive Nayef Al Alawi.

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