Iota launches $100M Abu Dhabi foundation for Middle East expansion

The open-source blockchain developer Iota announced on Nov. 29 that it is launching a foundation, the Iota Ecosystem DLT Foundation, based in Abu Dhabi, to focus on the growth of its distributed ledger technology (DLT) in the Middle East region.

According to the announcement, the new foundation will be supported by $100 million in Iota digital tokens, which will be vested throughout the course of the next four years.

One of the primary goals of the foundation is to push for accelerated growth of its DLT and “convert real-world assets into digital ones,” according to the company’s co-founder and chairman, Dominik Schiener.

“The market right now is being reshuffled so we have a big opportunity to position ourselves by focusing on onboarding institutions, offering them to work on-chain because now it’s more feasible to do that in the UAE.”

In addition to growing its technology to support developments in the Middle East region, the network will begin “tokenizing” assets.

Hamad Sayah Al Mazrouei, the chief executive of the Registration Authority of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), said the country aims to be “the leading jurisdiction for the blockchain industry.”

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The Iota Ecosystem DLT Foundation became among the first blockchain-focused organizations to be approved by regulators from the ADGM.

This development comes less than a month after ADGM introduced comprehensive regulations on Nov. 2 targeting DLT foundations like Iota. The regulations claim to provide opportunities for organizations to expand into DLT in the region.

According to the new regulations, compliance includes disclosing the names of key figures, having a name that ends with “DLT Foundation,” a council consisting of two to 16 members, tokenholders being treated as beneficiaries, and not being allowed to conduct activities licensable by the ADGM.

This new framework also paves the way for decentralized autonomous organizations to legally operate and issue tokens to their members.

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