Web3 Decode launch
The NFT launch was led by Marwan Al Zarouni, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Dubai Blockchain Center, with Abdul Hamid Ahmad, CEO, Editor-in-Chief and Executive Director of Publishing at Gulf News. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: Gulf News is now the proud owner of its very own NFT collection, created and made live for the first time in a virtual or digitally enabled environment.

Web3 DeCode, a two-day tech event organised by Gulf News, took the audience through a digital journey that comprised of a series of archived photographs.

Video: Clint Egbert | Reporting: Justin Varghese | Editing: Anas Thacharpadikkal

The NFT launch was held in association with Virtua, a blockchain-driven virtual reality (VR) platform, which was also the marketplace for Gulf News’ NFT collection.

What does NFT mean? How do blockchains work?
NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. ‘Non-fungible’ means that it is completely unique. ‘Token’ means that it can be transferred on a blockchain. Essentially, NFTs are assets that carry a unique digital identity and can be traded between users on a public blockchain.

Common examples of NFTs include artwork, trading cards, comic books, sports collectibles, games and more. Although NFTs tend to be associated with artwork, they represent much more.

The basis of all things NFTs, a blockchain is nothing but a highly-cryptic digital ledger of transactions, and like mentioned above is the central technology behind most digital assets like cryptocurrencies. Its purpose is essentially to makes the history of any digital asset transaction unalterable and transparent.

So in other words, blockchain is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system.

Gulf News now has a NFT marketplace

Paul Wallis, Head of Art at NFT marketplace Virtua, which also worked with brands like Paramount, Hero ISL, Williams Racing and Legendary Entertainment, added Gulf News to its list of partners.

“Today, Gulf News is once again pushing forward into the future, embracing the world of Web3 – a new version of the internet that integrates blockchain technology and the Metaverse,” remarked Wallis.

By preserving Gulf News’ historical archives as NFTs, readers will be further engaged by being enabled to collect moments from UAE’s history as complied by Gulf News, said Wallis, while adding that this will provide collectors to own a part of it.

“As the Metaverse comes to life, it will enable the team at Gulf News to host gallery exhibitions and events,” Wallis further noted.

“We have built a series of colour, sepia, black and white – all priced in a way that means everybody should be able to obtain a piece of this collection.”

How do I acquire a part of this collection?

As with all art, NFT artworks are not an attachment to utility – you buy NFT art the same way you would buy it in a gallery, Wallis said ahead of the officially launch of the VR (virtual reality) gallery for Gulf News.

The NFT launch was led by Marwan Al Zarouni, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Dubai Blockchain Center, with Abdul Hamid Ahmad, CEO, Editor-in-Chief and Executive Director of Publishing at Gulf News, alongside Wallis on the stage.

In May, Dubai's Museum of the Future said it will launch its first non-fungible token (NFT) collection — The Most Beautiful NFTs in the Metaverse — as it aims to develop a range of products on the blockchain.

The first NFT drop is set to be announced soon, "with the collection to be intrinsically linked to 'The Most Beautiful Building on Earth’, aiming to set new standards for NFTs worldwide", Museum of the Future had said.

The museum – which only opened its doors in February this year – was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

UAE’s new Virtual Assets Law: How does it work?
Dubai issued the Regulation of Virtual Assets law and established the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority in March, aiming to establish a legal framework for businesses in the virtual assets space.

Virtual assets are digital representations of value which can be traded, transferred, or used as a form of payment. These include cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).