Feb 17, 2023

Dubai Embraces Crypto and Web3 Technologies

Dubai has been a hotspot for crypto and web3 technologies, offering much-needed regulatory clarity to help the industry thrive. From grocery stores to luxury cars, businesses in the emirate have been integrating crypto and web3 technologies into their operations.

Cointelegraph explored parts of Dubai to find out how these technologies have been integrated within businesses in the emirate.

Grocery shopping with cryptocurrencies

Day to Day, one of Dubai’s most popular and affordable grocery chains, announced last year that they started accepting crypto payments. On Aug. 8, the local media outlet, Khaleej Times, reported that the hypermarket has started to accept crypto payments in their online store and several branches throughout Dubai.

Cointelegraph visited the Al Quoz branch and tried to use crypto to buy groceries. Unfortunately, crypto payments were not supported in-store, but crypto users can still shop using crypto on the online store. The branch accepts Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Tether (USDT) and various other coins as payment for online orders.

Cointelegraph reached out to the official Day To Day hypermarket team but did not get a response.

Luxury cars in the real world and in the metaverse

Dubai is known for its luxury, and one way to experience it is through driving expensive cars. Cointelegraph spoke with a luxury car club based in Dubai that found a way to utilize NFTs and various Web3 technologies in their business.

Elchai Group is bringing luxury cars to the decentralized community through NFTs. Maria Xenofontos, Elchai Group’s chief marketing officer, told Cointelegraph that NFT holders who are also automatically members of their car club would be able to rent physical exotic cars from Elchai’s car collection. Xenofontos also explained that The Universe Eye, a metaverse project, is replicating the city of Dubai and will facilitate private events, celebrity concerts, and a luxury supercars showroom.

When asked about NFTs, the executive said that the space needs more exploration at the moment. “NFT as a form of ownership is something to explore more, and I am sure we will see their actual use case more in the coming years,” she said.

Flavio Elia, the founder and CEO of Elchai Group, told Cointelegraph that his love for cars and the endless possibilities in the metaverse drove him to pursue the project.

Crypto payment integrations that didn’t last

Apart from Day To Day, other businesses within Dubai have also announced various crypto payment integrations in the last year but failed to gain traction. On March 3, 2022, the Indian restaurant, The Bhukkad Cafe, announced that it accepted BTC payments. Almost a year later, Cointelegraph visited the store to check if they still accepted Bitcoin but was told that they only accept cash or card.

On Feb. 16, 2022, the media outlet, Time Out Dubai, reported on a new online restaurant called Doge Burger, taking inspiration from dog-themed tokens like Dogecoin (DOGE) and Shiba Inu (SHIB). But when Cointelegraph tried to order one of the burgers, the order did not arrive and the project’s website cannot be accessed anymore.

A popular school in Dubai also dipped its toes into crypto payments but backtracked almost immediately. On Feb. 9, Binance announced a partnership with the Canadian University Dubai to enable crypto payments within the university. However, less than a day after the announcement, the university backtracked on accepting crypto, citing technical roadblocks.

Despite some projects struggling with crypto integrations, Dubai’s crypto industry is still alive. In a recent Cointelegraph interview, Crypto Oasis co-founder Saqr Ereiqat said that many talents from around the world are coming into the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to work in the crypto space.

“We are witnessing an unprecedented migration of talent and capital from around the world into the UAE,” he said. In addition, the executive highlighted that at the moment, more than 8,300 professionals are working in the space in the Crypto Oasis alone.

Dubai is a great place for businesses to explore the potential of crypto and web3 technologies. With the right regulatory framework in place, businesses can explore the possibilities of NFTs, cryptocurrencies, and the metaverse. With the right marketing strategies, businesses can also use NFTs to promote their products and services and attract more customers. As the crypto and web3 space continues to grow, more businesses in Dubai will continue to explore the potential of these technologies.

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