Digital Transformation Learning Metaverse

Dubai wants to become a global metaverse leader

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By Webb Wright | Junior Reporter

July 20, 2022 | 4 min read

The tech hub of the United Arab Emirates aims to substantially boost its investments in the metaverse, and in the process add $4bn to its GDP over a five-year period.

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Dubai, known for its growing tech scene, aims to become one of the world’s top metaverse economies / Adobe Stock

Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced in a tweet earlier this week that his government has launched a “metaverse strategy” aimed at establishing Dubai as one of the top 10 metaverse economies in the world. The news arrives at a time when a number of other polities – including China and the Spanish region of Catalonia – have been unveiling similar plans to become leading sources of development and investment in the burgeoning metaverse.

Dubai will aim to achieve a five-fold growth of the number of metaverse and blockchain companies within its borders, as well as add 40,000 jobs and $4bn to its economy over the next five years. (Dubai is currently home to more than 1,000 metaverse and blockchain companies, which it says cumulatively contribute around $500m to the city’s economy, according to the tweet.)

In order to achieve those lofty goals, the government of Dubai said that it will pursue a number of strategies, including “[fostering] metaverse innovation and economic contribution,” “[cultivating] metaverse talent through education and training,” and “[developing] metaverse use-cases and applications in Dubai Government.”

This isn’t the first time that the government of Dubai – a city known for its ultramodern skyscrapers and blossoming tech scene – has shown a keen interest in blockchain technologies. Back in March, the city created its Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), designed in part to license crypto companies to operate within the Emirate of Dubai. The government’s favorable stance toward crypto quickly attracted some of the industry’s biggest players, including Crypto.com, FTX and Binance.

Dubai isn’t alone in its efforts to become a global metaverse leader. Catalonia – an autonomous region in north eastern Spain – is building what it’s calling the “Cataverse,” a virtual space inflected with Catalan culture and intended to boost the region’s reputation in the web3 space. Shanghai, China’s commercial center, unveiled plans earlier this month to establish a fund, worth around $15bn, devoted to metaverse development. The news from Shanghai is part of a broader Chinese push to accelerate and expand the growth of the country’s metaverse architecture.

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