Unlocking the Potential of Web3 in the MENA Region

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The recent proliferation of Web3 in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region has been driven by three key factors: committed governments (led by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Israel), and their creation of an attractive regulatory environment; the expedited expansion of blockchain-led ecosystems; and major international industry players supporting scalable startups, innovation and talent in this sector.

Hussain Haji, Head of Corporate Innovation at Brinc MENA, explains why he believes the region is at the cusp of a Web3 revolution. “As we move towards a more connected and decentralized future globally, the potential of Web3 technologies is becoming increasingly apparent,” Haji says. “The MENA region, with its devoted interest in embracing and developing blockchain and digital-asset technologies, has the potential to become the largest international Web3 hub within the next five years. Brinc MENA is excited to play a leading role in unlocking the potential that Web3 offers for innovation, entrepreneurship, sustainability and social impact.”

Haji explores why investors, partners and startups are all flocking to the MENA region:

Embracing Web3 in the MENA Region: Government-Led Initiatives

Since 2017, governments across the MENA region have been taking proactive steps to foster and accelerate the growth of Web3 technologies. The United Arab Emirates’ government, after launching the “Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021” in 2018, worked on establishing a clear regulatory framework to govern trading and investment in virtual assets to deliver a strong message of state support, structure and confidence in Web3. In April this year, the DMCC (Dubai Multi Commodities Centre) reported a record-breaking Q1-2023, attracting 708 new international companies to Dubai — where the strong ecosystems for crypto and gaming were declared a magnet for new businesses.

Believing in the Future of Investing: Smart Contracts and Digitization of Assets 

Among the most promising aspects of this new wave of blockchain innovation are the adoption of smart contracts and the digitization of assets — that are decentralized, transparent, secure, and efficient — which have the power to revolutionize industries and enable new investment opportunities. In early 2023, Dubai was crowned the second-most crypto-ready city in the world (behind London) in a report by Recap, a cryptocurrency asset management specialist. Citing a year of multiple new laws for crypto exchanges to operate in the city, the report also noted that two-thirds of UAE adults were interested in digital finance and crypto trading — reflecting accelerated consumer trust in virtual assets. More recently, Bahrain emerged as a regional leader in the licensing and regulation of digital tokens, complying with industry best practices while enhancing investor protection. 

Spearheading Web3 Startups: Partners and Accelerators

The rise of strong official partnerships, including that between government-backed institutions such as the DMCC’s Crypto Centre and international collaborators such as Brinc, in a landscape of developed venture capital ecosystems are set to propel the region into a new era of innovation and investment opportunities. These connections pave the way for innovative Web3 startups headquartered in the MENA region to potentially be accelerated with help from both local and global partners, with direct access to leaders across corporate, government, investment and mentor networks. Under Brinc MENA, startups in the Web3 space, such as blockchain, DeFi, GameFi and edutainment innovators, can apply to programs such as ZK Advancer, run on behalf of Animoca Brands.

Brinc MENA provides resources, mentorship, and investment opportunities to early-stage companies across all verticals, including Web3. If you’re interested in partnering with Brinc MENA, please email mena@brinc.io.

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