Dubai to Abu Dhabi: How NFTs are used in the UAE


As the United Arab Emirates (UAE) continues to provide a welcoming regulatory framework for blockchain-based technologies, nonfungible tokens (NFTs) continue to prosper within the region and are being used by projects in various ways. 

From concert tickets to research and philanthropy, Cointelegraph went to Dubai and Abu Dhabi to explore how various crypto projects operating within the UAE are using NFTs.

NFTs help medical researchers get data from gamers

A project that operates at the Jumeirah Village Circle in Dubai found a way to use NFTs to get data and funding for researchers. At the recent AIBC Dubai conference held at Festival City, Cointelegraph Spoke with Farcana Labs’ artificial intelligence scientist Dmitry Mikhailov to learn how their company has integrated NFTs in research. 

Cointelegraph’s Ezra Reguerra with Farcana Labs’ Dmitry Mikhailov at the AIBC Dubai conference

Mikhailov told Cointelegraph that their firm’s game called Farcana collects data from gamers which he describes as “donors” in exchange for a fraction of future intellectual property rights. Through what they call “research NFTs” which are given to donors and investors, scientists are able to gather data and funding for their research projects. Mikhailov explained: 

“For me, as a scientist, as a professor, it’s a huge way to get funds without applying to grants. All you have to do is just publish your research, get multiple donors, show it to investors, and say, look, I can find a new way to detect Alzheimer’s disease based on how you move your mouse.”

According to the Farcana Labs team, some of the data that were accumulated from their players are also being sent to Rashid Hospital, a government hospital in the UAE. The data is used to study methods for diagnosing Parkinson’s disease, dementia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

NFT tickets invade a rave concert in Abu Dhabi

Ultra Abu Dhabi, an electronic dance music (EDM) festival with popular DJs like Calvin Harris and Skrillex performing, had a taste of Web3 through NFT tickets provided by Fellaz and BNB Chain. The event was held at Yas Island, the home of many attractions like the Ferrari World and the Yas Marina Circuit which hosted the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix since 2009. 

The crowd at the Ultra Abu Dhabi event on March 5.

Cointelegraph visited the festival on March 5 to see how NFT tickets work and if there are differences between using traditional tickets and those backed with blockchain technology. Apart from a few extra steps like downloading a specific wallet, using NFT tickets is very similar to using normal tickets. However, while the differences may not be directly visible, the benefits exist behind the scenes. 

According to Alvin Kan, director of growth at BNB Chain, one of the many advantages of NFT tickets over traditional ticketing systems is how it can combat the issue of NFT fraud. He explained that:

“NFTs offer a reliable and secure means of verifying ticket authenticity, guaranteeing entry access exclusively to those with legitimate tickets.”

In addition, Kan also told Cointelegraph that there are other benefits to NFT tickets like the flexibility of being able to transfer tickets to friends or reselling tickets without paying fees to resellers. For event organizers, Kan noted that they will have on-chain records of ownership, allowing them to engage with the audience more even after the event. “For example, airdropping music-related NFTs to past participants of Ultra, or giving the Ultra ticket holders early access into future Ultra events,” he said. 

Exclusive admission line for NFT ticket holders at the Ultra Abu Dhabi event

The executive also mentioned that they are also planning to integrate NFT tickets into more events within the UAE and globally. 

Related: Groceries to luxury cars: The state of crypto adoption in Dubai

NFT rewards play a role in philanthropy 

Giving back and doing charity work are embedded in the UAE culture. The country’s leaders spearhead various initiatives and the government leads social, charitable and humanitarian work within and outside the UAE. At the AIBC Dubai conference, Cointelegraph also spoke to a project that focuses on philanthropy and found out how NFTs play an important role in its ecosystem. 

Philcoin CMO Tatum April with Cointelegraph’s Ezra Reguerra at the AIBC Dubai conference

Tatum April, the chief marketing officer of the non-profit corporation Philcoin, told Cointelegraph how their project is committed to providing charitable relief to people around the world. April explained that using Web3 technologies, their team is providing a platform where users can “earn and give back.” The platform offers NFT rewards, and in order to claim the rewards, people need to give back to causes that they are passionate about. She added: 

“Charity and non-profits have always been a very disguised process. So, a lot of the time the donations that you make to charitable organizations are not easily tracked and traceable.”

According to April, this is where blockchain technology comes into play. “Blockchain is obviously known for its transparency and its efficiency. So bringing philanthropy into it. We’re seeing this as a bridge between philanthropy and technology,” she added.