UAE - Eikonikos, an open world metaverse startup that was set up in the UAE in 2017, has raised $2 (Dh7.35) million in pre-seed funding by angel investors. Eikonikos envisions creating an open metaverse platform that is owned by Web3 followers, developers, and a growing community of players. Nearly a dozen investors, including block chain players, took part in the round.

The current pre-seed fundraising round would help the company to extend its ecosystem, bringing more fans into the digital realm.

Eikonikos was founded with the goal of creating a joyful and exciting open metaverse. The metaverse does have real promise. It could be used for training simulations, technical assistance, and immersive video chat. It could revolutionise education, gaming, and business. Virtual reality (VR) amplifies real-life experiences, all of which remains philosophically and technologically resolved by Eikonikos.

The company is in the process of issuing digital assets for investment as it gears up for commercial launch in May 2022, when its valuation will jump.

The timing could not have been better as the Dubai Government recently introduced new legislation for the digital asset sector, joining other global hubs in bringing the nascent sector under their regulatory purview.

In addition to introducing Virtual Assets Law, the Dubai Government also announced the creation of a new regulator in charge of digital assets. The newly formed Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) will oversee the industry in all emirate’s special development and free zones, except the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), which has its own independent regulatory and judicial system.

Eikonikos plans to issue new digital assets for consumers in the other five Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to trade in their digital assets and generate wealth.

Khaleej Times spoke with Mohamed Vasif, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Eikonikos.

Edited excerpts from the interview:

There are new virtual worlds evolving, currently known as Metaverses – where people are trading in digital assets — that are transparent and visible. It is like trading on the stock market, or a commodities market where you trade in real goods. Here at Metaverse — or the Meta Universe — you trade in digital assets that carry real value. The asset might be digital or virtual, but the value is real. Created through blockchain technology and innovation, it has been evolving for the last few years.

Metaverses are new worlds being developed at a rapid rate.

So, when you buy a digital asset, say for $100 (Dh367.30), it remains with you as your asset. No one can take it from you unless you decide to sell it. You can even sell this asset at $1,000 (Dh3,673.02) after a few months or years, and make money! This trade is done through a digital wallet, using cryptocurrency, say Bitcoin or Ethereum. Cryptocurrency is the virtual currency for trading in digital assets. People are making money in large sums, sitting at home and trading in digital assets.

Everyday thousands of consumers are entering this market and buying virtual assets like hot cakes. However, millions of consumers across the world are still unaware of this phenomenon. So, we developed Eikonikos over the last four years – to create another universe for our consumers to trade in and benefit from the opportunities that are passing by. We want our consumers to enter this world, trade in and reap the benefits.

Soon, we are going to issue some digital assets for people to buy, hold and finally trade in when the demand increases. Anyone could try this out with a few hundred dollars. If you choose to not sell it, you still can hold it and remain its legitimate owner for as long as you want while you enjoy its perks.

Eikonikos traces its origin from the Greek language and in its true essence means ‘virtual’, and we will be the bridge between the virtual world and the real world. We started our journey in 2017. It took us more than four years to get the suitable technology and get things moving. We have recently received $2 (Dh7.35) million funding and this will enable us to commercially launch digital assets in the coming months.

The digital assets market is evolving and yes, it might become crowded. However, we are at a very early stage of development and this market has huge room to grow. It might look crowded because there are less consumers in Metaverse but wait a few more years and we will see millions of people enter this world. You will soon see that a large chunk of global wealth passes hands through cryptocurrencies and digital assets. That is why regulatory bodies and central banks are considering mechanisms to recognize this new economy.

Going forward, more and more angel and institutional investors will finance startups like us.

As Metaverses are still evolving, we need to see how this contributes to the global economy — the real economy. As a business, we want to develop quality digital assets for investors to benefit from. Our assets and their popularity will differentiate our products and services – by offering a greater value per asset — as investors would look at a higher return from their investment. So, as our assets fetch more money and value than other digital assets, we will be able to offer a higher value to our investors and this will help many more to invest in assets through our platform. That’s how we want to make a difference.

It will open a new avenue for investors and traders. How it will change the world order — it is too early to say. However, it creates a new world – a digital and virtual world – that has been attracting large sums of investment.

It reflects Dubai Government’s forward-looking vision. The Dubai Government restructured Dubai Chamber of Commerce last year, to create Dubai Chamber for Digital Economy, among others. This is the best thing that has happened to the digital assets in this part of the world. This means that virtual assets will come under a regulatory purview and a government watch – that will strengthen investor confidence. This will help more and more investors to join the digital assets trade. We see this as the biggest government endorsement on what we are doing and planning to do.

That’s what we aim – to become a global player in the future. It is a long way and we have just started to take baby steps before we take a giant leap. We think global but act local. With more investment, we plan to grow with our partners and investors. In the coming years, we will raise more funds to tap the global markets.

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