Dubai’s Emirates plans to support Bitcoin, NFTs and metaverse


Amidst the downtrend in the cryptocurrency market, the world’s largest international airline, Emirates, announced Friday it’s planning to embrace Bitcoin (BTC) and other digital solutions like metaverse, NFTs, and blockchain, to seamlessly connect with customers. 

Adel Ahmed Al-Redha, the Chief Operating Officer of Emirates, stated that the airline would use Bitcoin as a payment method while simultaneously offering non-fungible tokens (NFT) on its websites for trading. The airline will also harness blockchain to trace records of aircraft.

Emirates will recruit new staff to develop applications for metaverse and non-fungible tokens as it moves to better understand and deliver clients’ demands. While commenting on the company’s interest in Metaverse, Al-Redha explained that:

NFTs and metaverse are two different applications and approaches. […] With the metaverse, you will be able to transform your whole processes — whether it is in operation, training, sales on the website, or complete experience — into a metaverse type application, but more importantly making it interactive.

Emirates’ first hint at metaverse

Emirate previously hinted at a plan for the metaverse and NFTs in April, announcing that the “first projects are already underway.” However, the company failed to disclose an exact date for the project’s completion. The airline company also revealed plans to convert “Emirates Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai” into a center for “innovation, including the development of the airline’s metaverse and NFT projects.”

Crypto adoption has been fast-spreading across the UAE, as the nation reportedly sees around $25 billion of cryptocurrency traded yearly. According to Chainalysis data collected between July 2020 and June 2021, UAE ranked third by volume in the region and was followed by Lebanon [$26 billion] and Turkey [$132.4 billion]. We’ve also seen a significant migration of many crypto businesses to several cities in the country, like Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

One of the reasons we’re seeing an influx of cryptocurrency entrepreneurs, companies, and developers coming to Abu Dhabi and Dubai is because there is regulatory clarity at ADGM (Dubai) and at a federal level.

According to Al-Redha, the majority of obstacles faced by local firms relate back to accessibility: “All other things being equal, we have more resources than any other country.” He went on to note that while this was true for businesses, it was particularly advantageous for them because they were in a better position than other countries owing to their accessibilities.

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