Dubai’s Bets Big on the Metaverse and Digital Economy

By now most of us will be familiar with the terms ‘Metaverse’ and ‘Crypto’, and we should be familiarising ourselves more with these terms. The UAE has just been ranked among the world’s top countries for cryptocurrency adoption.



Furthermore, Sheikh Hamdan announced recently the Dubai Metaverse strategy, which will support 40,000 virtual jobs and add $4 billion to Dubai's economy in five years.


The latest metaverse announcement from Sheikh Hamdan is another step towards Dubai’s ambition to attract more web 3.0 and crypto companies. In March this year, VARA (Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority) was established to regulate cryptocurrency companies, which has opened the door to a number of licenses being issued including one of the biggest crypto exchanges in the world - Binance.


Meanwhile, some of Dubai’s homegrown companies are increasingly betting big in the metaverse, Emirates Airlines, Damac, Union Square and Thumbay Group have all announced plans to expand their services and brand into the space. Local burger chain Pickl, is the UAE’s first restaurant to enter the metaverse, announcing they will launch brand-themed games, virtual apparel and Pickl-inspired NFTs. Pickl will also be launching a virtual restaurant later this year. Another burger joint ‘Doge Burger’ has launched, the Dogecoin-inspired virtual restaurant accepts crypto as payment for their tasty burgers.


The adoption of the metaverse and cryptocurrencies in Dubai-based businesses is growing at a rapid rate, which is on course with Sheikh Hamdan’s vision to transform the United Arab Emirates’ most populous city into one of the world’s “top 10 metaverse economies,”.


The metaverse could provide nearly $800 billion in worldwide revenue by 2024, Bloomberg Intelligence estimates show. As for the UAE specifically, augmented reality and virtual reality technologies alone could contribute $4 billion to the UAE by 2030, according to a 2020 report by management consulting firm PwC. The UAE currently hosts a total of 6,700 jobs which contribute $500 million to the UAE’s economy, according to WAM. As part of the Dubai Metaverse strategy, the number of jobs will increase to 40,000 in the next 5 years.


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