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Dubai's Metaverse HQ could drive the next wave 
of innovation 
on the Web

The city’s private and government companies are buying up space on the medium



File photo
File photo

Published: Wed 4 May 2022, 9:07 PM

Dubai is immersing itself in the metaverse and the government is keen to guide the development and growth of businesses and people on the medium that may be still in its infancy but has enormous potential.

The global metaverse market is already worth $100 billion and is expected to hit $1,500 billion by the turn of the decade. The city’s private and government companies are buying up space on the medium and the government wants to make the experience worth the money and time for users.

In March, the Dubai government spelt out major plans for its foray into Web 3.0 and set up the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA). This oversight body will now mark its presence on the metaverse which will give the city more heft and credibility in a space that is increasingly being embraced by people or their avatars.

VARA is the world’s first metaverse regulator and shows the sincerity of the government in ensuring fair play in the space as people embrace their digital selves to work, shop, play, attend concerts and conferences, and travel in the next phase of the new virtual.

The city’s virtual regulator on Tuesday bought space on a platform known as The Sandbox. The aim is to be an innovator and enabler and less of a conventional regulator in what is still a terrain that has many unknowns. Dubai hopes to support entrepreneurs and business and to protect their interests in the space.

“We have exceeded the role of an early adopter to become an innovator and participant in shaping the future of this technology,” Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai said of the city’s vision for Metaverse HQ. It’s a bold move as other cities and entities watch and wait to see how this Augmented Reality or Extended Reality will deliver in the future.

But Dubai is known to take risks and come out on top and its latest move could pay off in the evolution of the Web itself. The technology for the metaverse first emerged in the ‘90s. It was then called Virtual Reality (VR). The tech didn’t take off as expected and the first metaverse space called Second Life in the early 2000s disappeared without creating a flutter.

What the current variant offers is improved hardware and experiences. Facebook owner Meta last year took the idea mainstream with billions in funding. Other companies and investors are busy transacting in the space. The social media giant is banking on the metaverse for its next phase of growth. This is an alternative vision for the web, life-like, and without boundaries. Dubai as a modern, global metropolis is best placed to take the vision forward with the right legal framework and protections. Its presence on Web 3.0 could be just what is needed to make the space an extended innovative, and profitable reality.


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