From Features



Untangling A Web Of ‘Middle East Issues’: Key Considerations For Web3 M&A In The UAE

Stefan Mrozinski
White & Case LLP, Dubai
Gabrielle Lowe
White & Case LLP, Dubai
Arnold Krutilins
White & Case LLP, Dubai
Serena Oster
White & Case LLP, Dubai

’Web3’ is a term that has come from virtually nowhere to now regularly find itself rolling off the tongues of senior bankers as often as it does those of young start-up founders. Interest in the concept has even spread from the co-working spaces of California to the business districts of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Riyadh. In this article, we explore UAE and GCC-specific issues to be aware of in the context of Web3 M&A transactions.

What Is Web3?

Web3 is the third generation of the internet. Whilst Web2 entails centralised control of key aspects of the internet (including internet searches and social networking), Web3’s technologies are all about decentralisation.

Trends And Developments In The UAE

The UAE’s technology and Web3 space has seen significant growth in recent years. Reports suggest there were upwards of 1,000 industry participants operating in the Web3 space in the UAE at the start of 2023. Such growth in the UAE’s Web3 sector is expected to continue and provide further support to the UAE Government’s ambition to develop its digital economy, which it anticipates will contribute to approximately 20 per cent of the country’s GDP over the next decade.

The rise of the UAE’s prominence as one of the key players on the world’s technology stage has been supported by significant investment from both local investors (including its sovereign wealth funds) and the UAE Government, which has been instrumental i…