With the rapid evolution of technology, digital transformation has become a fundamental aspect of every sphere of modern life, from personal interactions to industrial operations and global governance.
Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida
Chief Executive Officer, QFC Authority
29 October 2023, Doha – Qatar: The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), a leading onshore financial and business centre in the region, has unveiled the QFC Digital Assets Lab, powered by Qatar Central Bank, in the presence of His Excellency Sheikh Bandar bin Mohammed bin Saoud Al-Thani, Governor, Qatar Central Bank, and His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Bin Qassim Al-Abdullah Al-Thani, Minister of Commerce and Industry.
The Digital Assets Lab is the inaugural programme to be launched under the Innovation Dome, an innovative platform that fosters transformative initiatives, aiming to position the country as a leader in the digital realm. The Lab will foster open innovation in Qatar through proof-of-concept and proof-of-value, accelerating the growth of Qatar's digital sector in line with the vision to establish Doha as a global financial and commercial hub by 2030.
Within this space, innovation, research, and development are focused on cultivating promising digital concepts within the domain of Digital Assets and Distributed Ledger Technology. The aim is to transform these concepts into viable cutting-edge technologies that can be practically applied across various industries.
In his opening remarks, His Excellency Sheikh Bandar bin Mohammed bin Saoud Al-Thani, Governor, Qatar Central Bank, said: “Qatar Financial Centre’s initiative is one of the key objectives of Qatar Central Bank’s Fintech Strategy launched in March 2023 in line with Qatar National Vision 2030. This initiative will create a favorable environment for the diversification of digital assets, increasing business competitiveness, and encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation. The initiative will also support the development of other economic sectors by leveraging developments in digital technologies across multiple fields beyond the financial technology realm.”
The Qatar Central Bank's visionary leadership has consistently been at the forefront of pioneering initiatives in the financial sector. Its support for the QFC Digital Assets Lab reaffirms its commitment to embracing innovative technologies that drive economic transformation. This initiative resonates with the QCB Fintech Strategy, an alignment that not only fortifies the nation's financial landscape but also underscores Qatar Central Bank's dedication to ushering in a new era of digital advancement.
Speaking on the significance of the Digital Assets Lab and Innovation Dome, Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, QFC, said, “With the rapid evolution of technology, digital transformation has become a fundamental aspect of every sphere of modern life, from personal interactions to industrial operations and global governance. The establishment of the Innovation Dome, housing the Digital Assets Lab, puts Qatar at the forefront of innovation and on an accelerated path to integrating disruptive technologies into the market. The Dome's mission is to foster a dynamic and technologically advanced landscape in Qatar, while the Lab will serve as a catalyst for pioneering financial solutions, further enhancing Qatar's status as a prominent global commercial centre."
The event provided an extensive overview of the Digital Assets Lab, covering a range of essential aspects, including insights into potential participants, the variety of use cases that can be tested within the Lab, the digital assets journey and key benefits. Notably, the event featured industry experts who engaged in a panel discussion and Fireside Chat, delving into the ways in which new technology is propelling Qatar's economy forward and around the role of the Digital Assets Regulations within the Lab's operational framework.
Nasser Al-Taweel, Deputy CEO and Chief Legal Officer, QFC, commended the key entities invested in developing the FinTech sector for their efforts in creating a comprehensive system with robust regulatory and legislative frameworks for digital assets and advanced infrastructure that support and enable companies to enhance their performance and services."
Michael Rayan, CEO, QFCRA, also shared his thoughts on the value of the Digital Assets Lab, saying, “The Digital Assets Lab will create a platform for collaboration that is essential to unlocking the potential of new technologies and ensuring that their transformative innovations establish the trust and confidence among investors and customers that is necessary for success. The engagement that the Digital Assets Lab will bring directly with entrepreneurs and the financial sector will also be an important input into our public consultation on the legal and regulatory framework for digital assets, which was issued on 4 October.”
The launch of the QFC Digital Assets Lab marks the commencement of the application process for the inaugural innovation challenge cycle, inviting fintech companies and industry stakeholders to engage in exploration and collaboration.