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UAE Announces World’s First Free Zone for Digital and Virtual Asset Companies

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Updated by Dean
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In Brief

  • Ras Al Khaimah, one of the United Arab Emirate’s (UAE) seven Emirates, is set to launch a free zone for digital and virtual asset companies as the country’s approach to the industry continues to attract global crypto players.
  • Free trade zones in the UAE are areas where entrepreneurs have 100% ownership of their businesses with preferential taxation and regulatory frameworks.
  • The UAE has positioned itself as a forward-thinking hub for crypto firms.
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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) continues to implement strategies toward the digital assets economy. The latest move by Ras Al Khaimah creates a dedicated crypto-friendly free zone for global companies. 

Ras Al Khaimah, one of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) seven Emirates, announced a new free zone dedicated to digital and virtual asset companies. The initiative would be the world’s first free zone for digital and virtual asset companies, per an announcement at Blockchain Life 2023. 

Free Trade Zones (FTZs) in the UAE have designated areas where companies can operate without restrictions. This includes 100% foreign ownership, no corporate tax, no personal income tax, and no customs duties. It also offers streamlined procedures for business setup, including simplified licensing and registration processes.

Free Zones Dedicated to Digital Assets

Termed the RAK Digital Assets Oasis (RAK DAO) – “a purpose-built, innovation-enabling free zone for non-regulated activities in the virtual assets sector.” 

Applications will commence in Q2 this year Source: RAK DAO
Applications will commence in Q2 this year Source: RAK DAO

The Chairman of RAK ICC and Chairman of RAK Digital Assets Oasis supported the growing crypto cohort. Further highlighting the need for such zones.

Press release regarding the announcement Source: Zawya
Press release regarding the announcement Source: Zawya

Such an initiative serves to bolster the adoption rate and contribute to the region’s leadership as a potential hub. 

UAE Is Supporting Crypto Narratives

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has positioned itself as a forward-thinking hub for crypto firms seeking a more favorable regulatory environment. In recent years, the UAE has made significant strides toward becoming a global leader in the crypto and blockchain space. 

One of the most notable initiatives in this regard was establishing the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) Crypto Centre. The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange in terms of trading volume. The DMCC Crypto Centre has been instrumental in creating a favorable ecosystem for crypto firms to operate in the UAE. 

In addition, the government has also taken a proactive approach to regulate the crypto industry. The “Regulation of Stored Values and Electronic Payment Systems” was introduced in 2017. This regulation sets out a framework for licensing and regulating crypto exchanges, custodians, and other service providers in the UAE. 

Furthermore, the government launched various initiatives to support the development of blockchain technology. Including the Dubai Blockchain Strategy 2020 aims to make Dubai a blockchain-powered city by 2020. 

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Shubham Pandey
An engineer and an accountant by degree, Shubham ventured into the crypto world to pursue his passion. He believes digital currencies will redefine our economies in the decades to come, which drove his transition into this industry. Shubham has a multicultural background, having lived across India, Qatar, Oman and Australia. He is currently settled in Melbourne. As a News Writer, Shubham aims to actively analyze trends in the crypto world and break it down for everyday readers.