The article has been updated to reflect a mistake in the name of the Sheikh involved in the funding, who is Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum, not Sheikh Ahmed bin Al Maktoum.
Dubai royal Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum is backing Lichtenstein-based cryptocurrency fund manager Invao, according to a report from Bloomberg on Feb 5. The fund management firm purportedly aims to secure more investors in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Sheikh’s private office, known simply as The Private Office, will reportedly help Invao to secure funding in the UAE. The Private Office also invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.
Despite a slump in cryptocurrencies the previous year, Invao has already invested over $1 million and managed to turn a profit, according to business publication Arabian Business. “Even in our worst month we still made 8 percent profit on our investments,” said Frank Wagner, co-founder of Invao.
Invao’s partnership is part of a plan by the UAE government to become a blockchain investment hub by 2021, according to comments made to Arabian News by Private Office CEO Hisham Al Grug.
In April 2018, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the ‘UAE Blockchain Strategy 2021.’ Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid then said that blockchain adoption would help the government prepare for future challenges in addition to reducing administrative expenses by $3 billion annually.
The blockchain strategy is based on four principles of “citizen and resident happiness, government efficiency, advanced legislation, and global entrepreneurship.”
In December 2018, the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) of the UAE announced that it will introduce initial coin offering (ICO) regulations in the country in the first half of 2019. SCA chief executive Obad Al Zaabi said that the agency had “signed agreements with law firms to come up with the sandbox and rulebooks for the issuance of ICOs.”