For anyone interested in learning more about how the UAE is moving forward in Blockchain and how the GCC is viewing the crypto markets, there is no one better and more humble person to talk to then Mr. Saeed Hareb Al Darmaki, the Co-Founder Managing Director of Alphabit Fund and the Chairman of newly established eGovern.
Saeed has been a vanguard when it comes to blockchain and crypto in the UAE. He was one of the first to actually invest in crypto currencies, as well as various blockchain startups. He currently advises blockchain startups and traditional businesses on how to utilize blockchain technology as well as manages crypto and blockchain asset portfolios. Al Darmaki is currently the blockchain advisor for Lead Ventures in the UAE.
UNLOCK as such took the opportunity to ask Al Darmaki about several topics related to crypto markets, crypto regulation in the region, Central Bank Digital Currencies and his newly established eGovern entity.
According to Al Darmaki, while Covid-19 has had an effect on markets it has shown that its effect is the same both on traditional as well as crypto assets. So when Covid-19 first hit, crypto assets including Bitcoin were affected and markets crashed just like other counterparts that tumbled following suite with other markets, but now he sees that they have recovered much like other markets.
When we asked about the current situation with regards to crypto licensing of exchanges in the UAE and the fact that not many have launched despite the number of preliminary licenses granted by ADGM ( Abu Dhabi Global Market) in the past year, Al Darmaki explained that the ultimate aim is to launch well regulated exchanges rather than to launch quickly.
He states, “The reason why we haven’t seen the official launch of virtual asset exchanges so far in the UAE is mostly because of the stringent requirements set by FSRA the regulator at ADGM. There is an exhaustive list of conditions that need to be met. In addition there are liquidity and funding issues for some of these startups that has been exacerbated by Covid-19 so I think it’s a combination of these two things. In the end when it comes to regulation and protection of customers and investors there is no harm in being cautious and getting it right the first time.
UNLOCK also asked Al Darmaki about the upcoming crypto legislation that is being formulated by the Securities and Commodities Authority in the UAE and the timeline for its launch. As Darkmaki explains, “they are still in the midst of studying the framework to come up with the best possible framework and I think we should see something either by the end of this year or early next year. It will be a comprehensive framework.”
As for Al Darmaki’s latest endeavors, UNLOCK learned more about eGovern which is a UAE based company that works with governments and corporations to assist them in identifying, designing and implementing blockchain solutions to meet their pressing challenges and digital transformation objectives.
As Al Darmaki explains, “My partners and I are leveraging our longstanding experience in Blockchain and our network of solution providers to offer solutions to governmental and enterprise customers not only in the UAE and MENA region but also globally.”
He adds, “We are able to match the right Blockchain service provider to client’s business objectives. These Blockchain entities are not the big ones that already have well established in-house solutions and business development but the up and coming providers who nevertheless have considerable technological expertise and are among top 100 solution providers in terms of market capitalization.”
eGovern is already in talks with several governmental entities in the UAE, Africa and even Caribbean to offer them solid blockchain solutions that compete with the big blockchain providers present today.
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Al Darmaki believes strongly that the future will be bright. According to him the UAE is proactively promoting startups and blockchain companies as well as supporting the needed crypto regulations and will witness increased progress over the upcoming months and years. As he concludes, “ the UAE continues to press on to becoming a Blockchain hub in MENA and eventually a global hub and I am excited about how things are developing and continue to do my part to help. A lot of good things are happening and I am confident that the next years will be exciting ones.”