Ras Al-Khaimah is set to launch RAK Digital Assets Oasis. (Wikimedia Commons)
Al-Khaimah on Monday announced plans to launch a free zone for digital and virtual asset companies to be known as the Digital Assets Oasis.
“We are proud to further the UAE’s position as a primary destination for innovation with the launch of RAK Digital Assets Oasis. We are building the free zone of the future for the companies of the future,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Humaid bin Abdullah Al-Qasimi, chairman of RAK ICC, said.
“As the world’s first free zone solely dedicated to digital and virtual asset companies, we look forward to supporting the ambitions of entrepreneurs from around the world with our progressive, supportive and quick-to-adapt approach, and our innovation-enabling environment.”
According to a statement released by the government on Monday, the Digital Assets Oasis will be the first example in the world of a “purpose-built, innovation-enabling free zone for nonregulated activities in the virtual assets sector.”
It will be dedicated to digital and virtual assets service providers in emerging technologies, such as the metaverse, blockchain, utility tokens, virtual asset wallets, non-fungible tokens, decentralized autonomous organizations, decentralized applications and other Web3-related businesses.
Free zones, also known as free-trade zones, are special economic territories characterized by light taxation policies and other regulations that encourage economic activity.
The UAE offers investors more than 40 multidisciplinary free zones, in which expatriates and foreign investors can enjoy full ownership of companies.
In recent years the country has strived to diversify its economy beyond oil and introduced a number of reforms to attract foreign investments.
Although its central bank does not recognize cryptocurrencies as legal tender, the UAE has made significant efforts to position itself as a forward-thinking center for crypto businesses looking for friendly jurisdictions.
In March last year, Dubai unveiled its virtual assets law, along with the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority, to protect investors and provide standards for the digital asset industry.
In September, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, the regulator of the ADGM, published guiding principles on its approach to regulating and overseeing the new asset class and its service providers.
Applications for the RAK Digital Assets Oasis will open in the second quarter of this year. Its CEO Dr. Sameer Al-Ansari said he hoped the initiative would “help implement the forward-thinking vision of the leadership of Ras Al-Khaimah.”
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