Top crypto news from the Middle East region over the last week (Sept. 11–17, 2022):
The 22nd World Blockchain Summit is set for Dubai on Oct. 17-18
The 22nd global edition of the World Blockchain Summit will bring together some of the world’s leading crypto influencers, policymakers, key government delegates, media, family offices, HNIs, and other curated investors, among others, to foster the crypto and blockchain community across the globe.
World Blockchain Summit Dubai is taking place on Oct. 17 and 18, 2022, at Atlantis, The Palm. It is one of the most elite gatherings of the global crypto and blockchain ecosystem.
UAE’s MetaFi raises $3 million in capital
UAE-based startup MetaFi recently raised $3 million in funding from DoublePeak Group, Maven Capital, OKX Blockdream Ventures, Megala Ventures, Magnus Capital, Legion Ventures, SL2 Capital, X21 Digital, Good Games Guild, MetaGaming Guild, Mintable Go! Fund, and Athena Ventures. Matt Danilaitis founded MetaFi earlier this year, and it delivers a full range of services for NFTs and DeFi spanning the metaverse, GameFi, SocialFi, and Web3.
According to MetaFi’s founder Matt Danilaitis, MetaFi will apply the investment to develop the Trading Metaverse, a brand-new type of user-controlled social trading platform which will be the company’s first key product.
UAE startup MetaEssence launches utility-based Web3 and metaverse solutions
UAE-based MetaEssence launches the world’s first specialized G2B2C (Government to Business to Consumer) utility-based Web3 and metaverse solutions focused on three main business domains: digital health, digital economy, and sustainability.
The company aims to introduce innovative solutions to accelerate digital transformation in government agencies and organizations using smart contracts. MetaEssence’s solutions for digital health, and specifically medical tourism, will give patients secure access to quality healthcare providers across the world using metaverse and mixed reality.
Metaverse app Nostraverse to launch a subsidiary and hire 100 employees in the UAE
Nostraverse, a Metaverse app released in the Oculus Store earlier this year, is set to open a subsidiary in the UAE amid blockchain and crypto projects continuing to flock to the Emirates after unveiling the Dubai Metaverse Strategy this May.
The leading B2B2G Metaverse Gateway and Transformation Partner told Gulf News that it will be opening its Dubai subsidiary in October to start providing professional solutions to governments and multinational corporations. Nostraverse Founder and CEO Sam Clever said the company plans to hire up to 100 employees in Dubai in the following 12 months.
Coinweb plans to establish a presence in the UAE and Saudi Arabia in H1 2023
Coinweb sticks to its roadmap to establish its presence in UAE and Saudi Arabia in H1 2023, CEO and Co-Founder Toby Gilbert told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview. Coinweb and its group company Onramp already have various digital asset consents and licenses across the world, including Canada, Singapore, the UK, Ireland, Poland, Lithuania, and Estonia.
The University of Sharjah and the BSV Blockchain to preserve UAE’s cultural heritage as NFTs
The University of Sharjah announced its partnership with BSV Blockchain to create a blockchain-based metaverse. A deal has been struck between the University of Sharjah and the BSV Blockchain Association to preserve UAE’s culture and heritage in the form of NFTs. The two entities have launched a joint research and development program to move the UAE’s cultural identity to the metaverse.
The collaboration between the Swiss-based blockchain company and Gulf nations will also open ways for other countries. The University of Sharjah will claim ownership of digital assets and list them in the marketplace. The relationship will also provide use cases for digital assets like NFTs and the metaverse. A university representative said it would be monumental to the history of Arabic and Islamic legacies in the Middle East.
US Treasury sanctions Bitcoin addresses of Iran-based ransomware group
The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) sanctioned 7 Bitcoin addresses allegedly connected to Iranian nationals Ahmad Khatibi Aghada and Amir Hossein Nikaeed Ravar.
On Sept. 14, the OFAC added 10 individuals, 2 entities, and several crypto addresses allegedly tied to an Iranian ransomware group to its list of Specially Designated Nationals, effectively making it illegal for US persons and companies to engage with them.
Central Bank of Bahrain partners with OpenNode to test Bitcoin payments
The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) is set to test a Bitcoin payment processing and payout solution in collaboration with OpenNode. OpenNode believes the move is a “watershed moment for the people of Bahrain, the Middle East, and the Bitcoin economy as a whole.”
According to a press release on Sept. 14, the BTC payment processor plans to provide the infrastructure for the solution. The Regulatory Sandbox was first launched in 2017, following which the CBB authorized OpenNode to participate in its framework that enables financial tech companies to test their ideas and solutions in the country.
Abu Dhabi regulator reveals its guiding principles for crypto
The Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), the financial regulator of Abu Dhabi Global Market free economic zone (ADGM), published on Sept. 13 its “Guiding Principles” on its approach to digital asset regulation and supervision.
The crypto-friendly in principle, the FSRA pledge to comply with international standards in Anti-Money Laundering (AML), combating the financing of terrorism (CFT), and supporting financial sanctions.