RAK DAO will issue licenses for virtual asset businesses that 'do not require third-party regulatory oversight'. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Dubai’s got VARA. Abu Dhabi has the ADGM. And just recently, Ras Al Khaimah unveiled its RAK Digital Asset Oasis.

The messaging is clear – any crypto/virtual asset business out there wanting to operate in a dedicated environment, the UAE has it covered. What the UAE has been aiming for is an early-mover advantage when it comes to having a framework that would give these businesses adequate flexibility to find themselves.

James Bernard, Chief Commercial Officer at RAK Digital Assets Oasis, is pushing the mandate further. The free zone is ‘issuing business licenses supporting a broad range of Web3 and digital assets activities that do not require third-party regulatory oversight.

Should an activity that requires regulation be requested, then the client is directed to approach the appropriate regulatory body for that sector.

- James Bernard

“RAK Digital Assets Oasis is the world’s first free zone specifically designed and focussed on attracting and supporting individuals and businesses from across the Web3, digital assets, and future tech space.” (VARA and ADGM require full-scale licensing across categories for virtual asset companies.)

There’s RAKEZ, which continues to be a magnet for new businesses, whether new entrants to the country or those ventures getting launched here.

Ras Al Khaimah has been nimble with its free zone-specific strategies. Free zones are getting hyper-competitive to keep drawing new tenants, and which is why any business in the digital/virtual space is fair game.

Settle it with cryptocurrencies

“RAK DAO recognizes the importance of cryptocurrency in the digital economy and has embraced this form of payment for all member payments,” said Bernard. “This includes a selection of Stablecoins - this is live now and we welcome all inquiries.

“At present, the time required for licensing varies for each company and depends on individual circumstances.

“But on average, it’s less than a week. We are committed to creating an efficient and transparent process for each of our members.” (The free zone operator even has a Telegram community to keep a two-way info flow with its client companies.)

A startup hub

The way Bernard sees it, RAK DAO can be extremely supportive of startup businesses.

“RAK DAO serves as a comprehensive Web3/future tech ecosystem that acts as a landing pad for entrepreneurs and businesses alike,” he said.

“We can provide access to a range of products and services provided by partners, such as HBAR who provide grants and support to startups and scale-ups, building on the Hedera blockchain.

“Our ecosystem partners cover all sector verticals - blockchains, toolkits, Dapps, infrastructure, wallets, exchanges, metaverse, gaming, NFT, funding, and a full range of other tech, financial and other support services.

“We also address crucial challenges related to regulation and security. This way, Digital Assets Oasis functions as an enabling ecosystem where members can connect, collaborate, and discover unique opportunities.”

Freelancers too

“Our business licenses are not limited to traditional companies alone,” said Bernard. “We extend licensing options for several types of different legal entities as well as issuing freelance permits. We can provide an inclusive and flexible environment for entrepreneurs, innovators, developers, and our partners to thrive.”