Ras Al Khaimah, one of the seven emirates in the UAE, is set to launch a new free zone called RAK Digital Assets Oasis (RAK DAO). This new free zone will be dedicated to non-regulated activities in the virtual assets sector, and applications for it will open in Q2 2023.

The RAK DAO will serve as a purpose-built, innovation-enabling free zone for emerging technologies such as blockchain, metaverse, utility tokens, nonfungible tokens (NFTs), virtual asset wallets, decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), decentralized applications (DApps), and other Web3-related businesses.

According to Sheikh Mohammed bin Humaid bin Abdullah Al Qasimi, chairman of the RAK International Corporate Centre, the RAK DAO is being built as “the free zone of the future for companies of the future.” Entrepreneurs from around the world can look forward to the support of this free zone, which will allow them to have 100% ownership of their businesses with their own tax schemes and regulatory frameworks.

Dubai-based crypto lawyer Irina Heaver suggests that the RAK DAO will start with non-financial activities first, and may introduce financial activities at a later stage. She also notes that entrepreneurs won’t be able to launch a crypto exchange just yet, which is an ESCA-regulated financial activity.

The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) is one of the UAE’s main financial regulators. According to the country’s latest federal-level virtual assets law, the SCA has authority throughout the Emirates, except for the financial free zones – the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and others, which have their own financial regulators.