After 33 hours of travelling, and 2 hours of ‘sleep’, the first day of the Global Blockchain Conference at the beautiful Le Meridien gave us a great insight into the growing cryptocurrency community in the UAE. While governments around the world are implementing restrictions on ICO and crypto products, the UAE has seen the potential and is embracing the technology. This is reflected in the sharp increase in crypto enthusiasts in the region. At the Crypto Invest Summit we spoke predominantly to attendees who had an interest in using the product for personal reasons, with a few investors stopping by and showing interest. In contrast, the Global Blockchain Conference in Dubai was almost exclusively attended by investors, looking to capitalise on the growing potential of blockchain technology.
My first time in Dubai had exceeded my expectations. Having taken the evening to explore the city, I was convinced that this is how cities are meant to be done. With little restrictive, historic infrastructure to worry about (compared to London at least), the government were able to approve building projects left, right and centre. With an eye for the sky, companies such as Damac and Ameer dominated the skyline with their unique, beautifully lit towers. Below the world famous Burj Khalifa, we were standing at the foot of the malls' large indoor aquarium. A structure so huge, it dwarfed the bull sharks within. We had been warned about the restrictions on, well, pretty much everything other than falcons and supercars in the area. This became apparent when our cameraman, Al, was quickly approached by multiple security guards as his gimbal drew attention to us as a ‘professional filming’ team. After being asked for a name and number (I’m called John Stevens now, by the way) we knew to be more cautious moving forward.
In a city with so many strict laws, it’s very surprising to see the more relaxed approach to ICOs and blockchain. Then again, if there’s one thing the UAE is known for, it’s making the most of lucrative industries, and this could be their next oil field. With 2 days left in an area with so much to do, from indoor skiing to desert dune buggies, we’re torn on what to do with our downtime. One thing we do know; we probably won’t go for the central Dubai drone footage we were hoping for. To see us getting lost in the desert, head over to our YouTube channel: https://goo.gl/FmFcSi
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