In an interview with Irina Heaver, Ralf Glabischnig speaks about the UAE’s efforts in becoming a global pillar of the cryptocurrency ecosystem and the role it plans to pay in the very near future
Given that you’re working on making Dubai the crypto hub for the MENA region, you seem to be starting with the middle east but then why not aim for the world?
We want to decentralize so instead of having the power in Silicon valley, we want to bring it to the Middle East to our new crypto hub. I’m originally from Switzerland. I moved to the famous crypto valley in Zug in 2005. Then in 2013, we saw interesting entrepreneurs coming in like Vitalik, the founder of Ethereum, and Nikolai Udianskyi, the founder of Bitcoin Ultimatum. Out of this ecosystem, we created Crypto Oasis.
We just brought out the last top 50 report and now it’s grown to more than 1,100 companies involving more than 6,000 people. So it’s most likely the biggest group in the broader global crypto ecosystem. I love Dubai, so I would like to make Dubai and the Middle East the biggest crypto and blockchain ecosystem in the world.
Could you tell me more about the DMCC crypto center? Tell me which direction you want to take it? What are you aiming for?
My target is to connect to the whole ecosystem with my team and to find the best 10% to invest in and to get together with other funds, like Gulf Capital, like Woodstock Fund who we are partnering up to invest with. How do we find the best deal flow? You have to talk to a lot of people.
Are you concerned about other crypto centers coming up? There’s one coming up in the Dubai World Trade Centre. Do you see that as a competition?
Absolutely not. I’m happy about everyone who’s coming, because I still believe this whole ecosystem is probably only one by one square centimeter while the market could be the whole wall behind us. So I’m happy about everyone who is helping and building this ecosystem. Bahrain, Qatar, whatever it is, there’s a lot of things to do, but the opportunity in Dubai is so huge at the moment and when we can scale that out of here, I’m sure there’s enough space for everyone.
Do you see the gamified metaverse trend as a passing trend that will just die a natural death, like ICO’s or do you think that there is something long-term for all of us to get involved and excited about?
I say ICOs didn’t die because we still do token sales in every kind of way. It just has another name. The token is a core part of our blockchain industry and it’s always funny when you hear “yes, I like the blockchain, but I don’t like crypto.” A blockchain without a token doesn’t work, quite simply.. Now onto the Metaverse, I believe the metaverse is much more than the new blockchain space, but blockchain can enable ownership in the metaverse. So this is a huge opportunity and I think we are not too early to understand that if Facebook is rebranding to Meta it’s already public. Even the New York Times knows about it now and I think there’s a huge opportunity and that’s probably interesting.
I see the Metaverse as a big business opportunity, but I’m also a little bit afraid. You see that people are already spending eight hours a day on Instagram. On Instagram, most of the people in that space are not themselves living a life that they are not actually living. It might become a place where people run away from reality.
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With the peninsula being known for its natural beauty, rich cultural landscape and fantastic delicacies, the Balkans are renowned for having some of the most quintessentially Mediterranean vistas and experiences. From the Adriatic coastline of Split to the fairytale-esque castle of Lake Bled, the region has a lot to offer the world. This being said, something that fewer may know is the fact that the nations of the Balkans are incubating a nascent but powerfully growing technical expertise when it comes to frontier technology such as Blockchain, AI and more. Therefore the region may not only be a rich adventure into the past but my also serve as a window into the very near future.
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