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Abu Dhabi Goes All-In on Crypto With $2 Billion Investment Program for Web3 and Blockchain Startups

Sead Fadilpašić
Last updated: | 3 min read
Source: AdobeStock / VAKSMANV

Abu Dhabi’s technology sector has introduced a fresh initiative to finance Web3 startups, blockchain technologies, and metaverse applications in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, with an impressive commitment of over $2 billion in capital.

The capital’s tech ecosystem, called Hub71, has officially launched its brand new Hub71+ Digital Assets, which will be based at Hub71 in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).  According to the Emirates News Agency (WAM),  

“This ecosystem is dedicated to advancing Web3, a decentralised online space built on innovations like blockchain technology and metaverse applications.” 

With a massive capital of $2 billion, Hub71+ Digital Assets aims to fund different startups in the Web3 field and offer them access to “an extensive range” of programs and initiatives, as well as corporate, government, and investment partners both in the country and globally, the report said.

The initiative will also provide Web3 startups with “a progressive regulatory environment and world-class blockchain and virtual asset infrastructure.”

Hub71’s value creation program will further support businesses moving to Abu Dhabi, as well as growth in the Middle East and global markets. Meanwhile, Hub71+ Digital Assets will contribute to supporting the UAE Digital Economy Strategy, the goal of which is to double the contribution of the digital economy to non-oil gross domestic product (GDP) to more than 20% within 10 years, Zawya reported.

Furthermore, per WAM, the anchor partner of the new initiative is FABRIC, the research and innovation center of First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB). Suhail Bin Tarraf, Group Chief Operating Officer at FAB, stated that the bank is an increasingly trusted financial partner in the Web3 space. This latest partnership, Bin Tarraf said, will enable FAB to “stay ahead of the curve when it comes to innovations such as blockchain, NFTs, and the metaverse, and fulfill their Customer First promise by leveraging new opportunities at the intersection of digital identity, ownership, and value.”

And there are more partners involved. WAM added that, 

“Digital asset exchanges and service providers are part of the initiative to facilitate the discovery, trading and custody of digital assets.”

Zawya reported that Hub71 onboarded a number of partners and Web3 players that form part of Hub71+ Digital Assets. These include:

  • Digital asset exchanges and service providers which facilitate the discovery, trading, and custody of digital assets: Binance and MidChains;
  • Technology providers that bridge the gap between Web2 and Web3 and provide infrastructure platforms: Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Mastercard;
  • Venture studio that facilitates the build and acceleration of new Web3 and digital assets startups: Founders DAO;
  • Blockchain platforms that enable transparent recording, tracking, and sharing of assets: Algorand, Polygon, SUI Blockchain, Ton Foundation, and Venom Foundation

Also, venture capital funds reportedly provide access to capital and investment opportunities, and these include Binance Labs’ $500 million Investment Fund to invest in ‘Web3’, as well as Venom Foundation through its $1 billion venture fund, Venom Venture Funds in partnership with ICEBERG Capital, Ton Foundations’ $250 million TONcoin.Fund which startups will be able to access, etc. 

“The combination of these elements aims to support participating startups to launch tokens and promote tokenization, as part of the fundraising journey,” the report stated.

Ahmad Ali Alwan, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Hub71, was cited by WAM as stating that decentralization is the future of the blockchain-based internet and that it’s the Web3 startups who will hasten the transition to the new technologies. 

Alwan argued that, 

“By collaborating with ADGM, FAB, and FABRIC, in addition to leading Web3 companies and enablers, startups will have the opportunity to fundraise, develop, and commercialize innovations safely while operating within the largest regulated jurisdiction of virtual assets in the MENA region.”

The launch of this initiative will additionally strengthen the ADGM-Hub71 partnership, opined Dhaher bin Dhaher Al Mheiri, CEO of ADGM. New technologies and ecosystems, such as Web3, may transform the world, Al Mheri said, adding that this partnership will enable startups to access innovative infrastructure and benefit from ADGM’s “diverse ecosystem and progressive regulatory environment.”

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