Ras Al Khaimah is setting out to have the world's first free zone dedicated for businesses in virtual assets and digital entities. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Applications for licenses in Ras Al Khaimah’s new free zone exclusively for virtual asset and digital companies will open in second quarter of 2023. These would include businesses in categories such as the Metaverse, blockchain, utility tokens, virtual asset wallets, NFTs, and other Web3-related businesses.

This comes as the UAE develops credentials to have an environment for virtual asset entities to base themselves in. Dubai and Abu Dhabi have crafted extensive regulations to foster an environment where such businesses can operate - but with rules that take care of all stakeholder interests too.

His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, issued the laws to establish the ‘world’s first free zone’ for such companies. The RAK Digital Assets Oasis will be an independent governmental entity affiliated with a newly created Department of the Future.

The new law grants RAK Digital Assets Oasis financial, administrative, and legislative independence.

“With the nation’s focus on digitalisation and encouraging enterprises of the future, RAK Digital Assets Oasis will serve as the gateway for global digital and virtual assets companies to establish their operations and grow their business,” said Sheikh Saud in a statement. “The new free zone will further cement Ras Al Khaimah’s reputation as a destination of choice for next-generation business ventures and the economy of the future.

"The new free zone will encourage young talent to implement their powerful ideas for the digital world, as well as drive global digital players to expand their footprint through our free zone, which will add incremental value to the economy by creating new jobs and promoting inward investment

New team at RAK Digital Assets Oasis
Sheikh Mohammed bin Humaid bin Abdullah Al Qasimi will be Chairman of the newly created entity, while Dr. Sameer Al Ansari takes on as CEO. Sheikh Mohammed is currently Chairman of RAK International Corporate Centre (RAK ICC) and Managing Director of RAKEZ. Dr. Al Ansari is CEO of RAK ICC and a member of the Board of Directors at Marjan, the RAK master-developer.