DUBAI: e&, formerly Etisalat Group, has launched its first set of non-fungible tokens, marking the first time a technology and investment conglomerate in the Middle East has launched NFTs.
The inaugural set of NFTs will be “distributed selectively,” according to a company statement, and further updates are expected soon. The move follows the advancement of e&’s blockchain arm, which crossed 10 billion dirhams ($2.72 billion) in transactions last year.
“The digital transformation that we are experiencing on all fronts will accelerate our quest to innovate,” said Hatem Dowidar, the group CEO of e&.
“The metaverse is opening up several avenues for us to investigate the digital realm in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago,” he added. “At this defining moment in our journey, we are proud to leverage our legacy in blockchain-enabled tech to launch pioneering NFTs that allow us and our customers to explore the limitless potential that the metaverse holds.”
The designs of the NFTs were sourced in the UAE as “we are keen to support the local development of new products, technologies and solutions,” Dowidar said.
NFTs have gained popularity as digital assets that transcend different sectors in recent years. They encompass a range of subjects from art to music, gaming and multimedia and are regularly bought online.
The NFT market was reported to be worth $41 billion in 2021, according to blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis.
Dowidar said: “We live in the renaissance of connectivity where we must capitalize on every opportunity that strengthens our continued leadership as the champion digital telco in a hyper-connected world.”