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The United Arab Emirates’ green digitization vision

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The United Arab Emirates is the world’s sixth-largest oil producer and one of the richest countries in the world, with a gross domestic product per capita of above $43,000 as of 2019, according to the World Bank. As per its “Vision 2021,” Iis petroleum- and natural-gas-reliant economy is committed to sustainable development in order to emerge as the Gulf Cooperation Council’s, or GCC’s, most diversified economy. This includes the digitization of the economy, which has become a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Related: Not like before: Digital currencies debut amid COVID-19

A green economy for sustainable digitization

The first virtual Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week Summit 2021 was broadcast live around the world in English and Arabic on YouTube, receiving over 100,000 views during the event from participants hailing from over 175 countries, and it featured over 500 influential global leaders from government, business and technology who explored the social, economic and technological opportunities supporting a sustainable green recovery from the pandemic.

At the summit, GCC leaders reconfirmed their decarbonization pledges “to save the equivalent of 354 million barrels of oil through the deployment” of renewable energies. This represents a 23% reduction in oil consumption to reduce the power sector’s carbon dioxide emissions by 22%, according to the latest figures from the International Renewable Energy Association.

In his opening address, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber — the UAE’s minister of industry and advanced technology, special envoy for climate change, and chairman of clean energy company Masdar — pointed out that with the COVID-19 pandemic, society is now witnessing the implementation of artificial intelligence, machine learning and the digitization of different spheres of life all over the world. Accordingly, electrification, decarbonization and digitization initiatives have become increasingly important across all industries.

Masdar’s solar energy initiatives

New digital technologies require a high consumption of electricity, which in the UAE is currently produced predominantly using fossil fuels that adversely impact the environment. Given the UAE’s vast hydrocarbon resources, Masdar is aiming to become a major blue hydrogen producer and contribute to the nation’s efforts to cut polluting carbon emissions by nearly a quarter. Masdar recently reached an agreement with Abu Dhabi’s Department of Energy and five additional institutions to develop clean hydrogen fuel solutions.

But the UAE’s Paris Agreement commitment to zero emissions by 2050 is heavily reliant on solar energy to diversify Abu Dhabi’s energy sector into renewable sources. Solar energy is seen as an anchor to Masdar’s renewable strategies from many perspectives. In Abu Dhabi, it is building the world’s largest solar power plant, as deserts are some of the best places to harvest solar power. They are never short of sunlight and are rich in silicon — the raw material for the semiconductors from which solar cells are made. Another benefit to installing solar panels in the desert, according to a 2018 study, is that it may create a more humid environment that causes vegetation to spread to combat desertification.

Masdar City: The UAE’s aerospace and green technology zone

Developed by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City is one of the world’s most sustainable urban communities, offering a strategic base through which companies can build their networks locally and globally and can explore multiple investment opportunities and test innovative new technologies from inception through to implementation to help the UAE diversify its economy.

Housing a free zone area, the city has more than 900 organizations, from international conglomerates to startups, developing innovative technologies in the areas of energy, water efficiency, mobility, space, blockchain technology and artificial intelligence to address the world’s most critical sustainability challenges in more than 30 countries.

UAE Space Agency

Based in Masdar City, the UAE Space Agency contributes to supporting a sustainable national economy by developing satellites used in natural resource mapping, environmental monitoring, land-use planning and security, and it has also launched a probe to Mars.

Digital economy

The UAE government has made the digitization of its economy a priority in order to bring efficiency to government, creativity to industry, and build international leadership. To accomplish this goal, the UAE has established in Masdar City the world’s first graduate-level, research-based artificial intelligence university, Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, which welcomed its first students in January 2021.

The UAE also adopted the Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021 and The Dubai Blockchain Strategy, which have undertaken several blockchain projects. SustVest is a crowd-investing blockchain-based platform that lets people invest in solar projects and earn returns from consumers who use their funding to install solar panels. The company is based in the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority and has built its solution on the Nem blockchain. Its founder, Hardik Bhatia, explained:

“The global rooftop solar segment is booming with opportunities, and is valued at over $66 billion. Emerging economies are looking to transition to solar as it offers a green and cheap alternative to conventional energy sources. SustVest enables this transition in emerging economies by crowdfunding rooftop solar projects in emerging economies on its platform. We tokenize solar projects granular to the level of individual solar cells, and investors purchasing these tokens can earn dividends generated by the sale of electricity from these individual solar cells. We are opening the gates for retail investment into solar space, and we do so by tokenizing the projects to reduce the barrier of entry and creating a secondary marketplace for providing liquidity to investors.”

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates, along with the Saudi Central Bank, is developing a state-backed bilateral central bank digital currency, “Aber.” Aber is initially set to help the UAE and Saudi Arabia make more cost-effective bank-to-bank, cross-border payments and financial settlements using blockchain technology on a probationary basis, and according to official statements, it will be exclusively available to a limited number of banks. Eventually, Aber will be used globally on China’s blockchain-based service network, or BSN, which will support future CBDCs from various countries such as the UAE.

Related: The United Arab Emirates chase crypto and blockchain adoption

Crypto-asset regulations in the UAE

The UAE prioritizes blockchain and distributed ledger technology and has launched various related ventures, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, cryptocurrency regulation in the nation remains limited.

Toward the end of 2020, the UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority, or SCA, published “The Authority’s Chairman of the Board of Directors Decision No. (21/R.M) of 2020 Concerning the Regulation of Crypto Assets.” The SCA’s decision lays out its licensing regime for anyone who wishes to offer crypto assets within the UAE, including exchanges, crowdfunding platforms, initial coin offerings, custodians, and other services that use crypto assets.

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority, or FSRA, of the Abu Dhabi Global Market considers crypto assets to have characteristics like those of shares, meaning they are to be treated as securities and are subject to information disclosure requirements related to risk and transactions. On the other hand, utility tokens and non-fiat cryptocurrencies are considered commodities and are not subject to market regulations. Law No. 20 of 2018 on Anti-Money Laundering defines laundered funds to be assets in whatever form, including digital currencies. Article 3 of Law No. 8 of 2017 on value-added tax imposes a 5% tax on imported and exported commodities. This tax may apply to utility tokens and non-fiat cryptocurrencies, as the FSRA considers them to be commodities.

The UAE does not have a signed tax treaty agreement with the United States. However, according to the Conduct of Business Rulebook, crypto-asset businesses are obligated to declare international income for tax purposes according to the requirements of the intergovernmental Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act agreement between the UAE and the United States.

Conclusion

A green recovery is an absolute imperative for a sustainable social and economic future in the post-pandemic world, as pointed out by Alok Sharma, president of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties — better known as COP26 — who praised Masdar’s undertakings in developing green energy technologies.

Related: The need to report carbon emissions amid the coronavirus pandemic

Finding financing for this green transition will likely not be too challenging, according to Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, managing director and group CEO of Mubadala Investment Corporation. Because a tectonic paradigm shift has occurred since the COVID-19 pandemic, with the markets pricing climate risk into the value of securities, there is a fundamental reallocation of capital toward sustainable investing to ensure a green recovery in a post-COVID-19 world. As Laurence Fink, chairman and CEO of BlackRock — the world’s largest asset manager — pointed out:

“I believe that the pandemic has presented such an existential crisis — such a stark reminder of our fragility — that it has driven us to confront the global threat of climate change more forcefully and to consider how, like the pandemic, it will alter our lives. It has reminded us how the biggest crises, whether medical or environmental, demand a global and ambitious response.”

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Selva Ozelli, Esq., CPA, is an international tax attorney and certified public accountant who frequently writes about tax, legal and accounting issues for Tax Notes, Bloomberg BNA, other publications and the OECD.

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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/the-united-arab-emirates-green-digitization-vision

Blockchain

Bitcoin Bull Mike Novogratz Predicts Existential Crisis Unless the US Creates a Digital Dollar

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Mike Novogratz, a veteran investor, and a huge Bitcoin supporter noted the U.S. is currently in a good economic position. Still, the nation can face a major competitive disadvantage unless it engineers a digital dollar soon.

The Importance Of An E-Dollar

Novogratz, chief executive of digital merchant bank Galaxy Digital GLXY, underlined the value that a digital dollar could bring to the US. In a Friday interview with MarketWatch, he stated:

”To me it is an existential crisis, we need a digital dollar.”

Furthermore, the investor expressed his view over the current COVID pandemic and the negative impact on the U.S. market and the world, in general. He referred to the trillions of dollars of monetary and fiscal spending done to help eliminate the worst of the economic aftershocks the disease caused:

”If our fiscal and monetary policy starts looking like it’s from a Banana Republic…you are going to run into some Minsky moment where confidence breaks down.”

With his statement, Mike Novogratz referenced Hyman Minsky, who exposed a view in the recent past that a period of distortions in the financial system eventually ends very badly.


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The existence of a digital dollar sounds even more important after some stock-market investors have been warning about a surge in US inflation in the past weeks.

The Competition With China

During the interview, Novgorotz claimed that while in the U.S., the development of an e-dollar is still under question and researches, China has fired the first salvo on the digital currency front.

The biggest economy in Asia conveys great support to its digital yuan. According to some experts in the field, its new currency is a weapon that the country can use to compete with the U.S. and other developed economies.

As CryptoPotato recently reported, PayPal CEO Peter Thiel said that Bitcoin could be used as a Chinese financial weapon against the U.S.

In the meantime, Novogratz said that there is ”zero evidence of the Chinese government buying Bitcoin” much less weaponizing it, referring to the comments made by Peter Thiel:

”Sometimes he likes to say things that are provocative.”

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/bitcoin-bull-mike-novogratz-predicts-existential-crisis-unless-the-us-creates-a-digital-dollar/

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Blockchain

Ripple becomes tidal wave, leads weekend pump and notches legal victories

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Amid a weekend pump carrying multiple cryptocurrencies higher, Ripple’s XRP looks to be leading the way with a push as high as 30% on the daily — carried on the back of a string of legal victories and rumors of relisting at some exchanges. 

Where Bitcoin and Ethereum are up merely 2.7% and 3.4% respectively on the day, XRP climbed to $1.36 before retreating to $1.32, where it sits at the time of publication. The digital currency is now up 111% on a 7 day basis, and a staggering 544% on the year. The recent push has also buoyed XRP back into the top 10 cryptocurrencies by marketcap, behind only BTC, ETH, and BNB at #4.

The rally flies in the face of a lawsuit from the Securities and Exchange Commission, which charges that XRP’s $1.3 billion ICO was an “unregistered securities offering.” The news led multiple exchanges to delist the currency, and XRP lost its place as the 3rd largest currency by marketcap, at time looking as if it would even fall out of the top ten. 

The bad news for XRP didn’t stop with the SEC, either. In March Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse announced that the company would be “winding down” its relationship with Moneygram — a once highly-touted partnership that investors often pointed to as proof of the digital currency being on a path towards becoming “the standard” for payments and settlement.

Despite the deluge of negative headlines, it appears all buyers needed was a small ray of hope to jump back in — and they’ve gotten exactly that. Ripple lawyers have notched two victories in their legal battle against the SEC, including winning access to internal SEC discussion history regarding cryptocurrencies, and a court denied the SEC the ability to disclose the financial records of two Ripple execs, including Garlinghouse.

Ripple executives themselves seem heartened by the news, with CTO David Schwartz saying the US isn’t “prepared” to regulate cryptocurrencies (a possible dig at the ongoing legal proceedings).

All in all, it’s just another week for one of the most controversial cryptocurrencies in the space.

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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/ripple-becomes-tidal-wave-leads-weekend-pump-and-notches-legal-victories

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Blockchain

Why this OlympusDAO’s product could be amongst DeFi most lucrative

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Taking the market by storm, OlympusDAO’s native OHM is up 95.8% this week alone and 31.1% in the past two weeks. At the time of writing, OHM is trading at $812,76 with 7.3% profits in the 24-hour chart.

With a market cap of just $68 million, OlympusDAO might have gone unnoticed by many investors. However, it has a mechanism called Bonds which promises to be one most important and lucrative in the DeFi sector.

According to research firm Messari, this protocol is attempting to create a stable currency backing every OHM with DAI and OHM-DAI. The objective is to maintain a “fundamental check on inflation” and a currency with an undiluted purchasing power.

Unlike Tether and other stablecoins, OHM is not pegged to any other asset. Its stability is achieved via the DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) when it alters variables to obtain more profitability for stakers.

This is done via the sales contract connected to the protocol’s treasury and a liquidity pool (OMH-DAI) on decentralized exchange Sushiswap, as shown below. Messari explains:

When OHM trades above 1 DAI, the protocol mints and sells new OHM. When OHM trades below 1 DAI, the protocol buys back and burns OHM. In each case the protocol makes a profit. Olympus DAO distributes these profits 90% to OHM stakers pro rata and 10% to a DAO.

OlympusDAO OHM
Source: Messari

How OlympusDAO’s bonds operate

The Bonds are a treasury component to get liquidity with it users can trade Stake Liquidity Provider tokens to get OHM directly with the protocol, as an OlympusDAO developer explained.

Once the trade is completed there is a vesting schedule of 5 days. During this time, the user can redeem the tokens but has incentives to get them at a discount. The latter is determined by the number of bonds in the protocol, more bonds are equal to a lower discount.

Via this mechanism, as the developer said, OlympusDAO restrains its own growth, to have become “steadier”.

The liquidity from a bond is locked in the treasury and used to back new $OHM. That liquidity now belongs to the market and, by extension, the token holders. The more liquidity the protocol builds up, the more confident holders can feel.

The users are basically contributing to OlympusDAO by adding liquidity. In retribution, the user gets a reward in OHM at a much cheaper price during a specific period. That way, both the user and the protocol can benefit.

OlympusDAO offers LP a variety of strategies around OHM which they can leverage to obtain a bigger profit than on the spot market. The developer claims:

All of this serves to create a long-term, sustainable bootstrapping mechanism for the protocol, with participants as the main beneficiaries. A good system shouldn’t offer one opportunity to “make it”; it should offer them in perpetuity with diminishing returns. This is how you produce wealth; slowly, through compounding gains.

Ethereum is trading at $2096,58 with a 1.2% profit in the 24-hour chart, after dropping from its ATH at $2,198.

OlympusDAO OHM Ethereum ETHUSD
ETH with small profits in the 24-hour chart. Source: ETHUSD Tradingview

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Source: https://www.newsbtc.com/news/why-this-olympusdaos-product-could-be-amongst-defi-most-lucrative/

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