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Many entrepreneurial people who have left Russia don’t know what to do. Some of them leave with a ready-made idea and start implementing it in better conditions.
I understand how difficult it can seem to start a business abroad now, especially when the whole world seems to be resisting it.
Durov’s Code recently opened an editorial office in the UAE and asked me to talk about local start-ups that have founders from Russia.
My name is Egor Lapshov, I am a creative producer of blockchain projects and host the blockchain culture channel BCC, so this set will focus on blockchain and digital art.
Dubai actively introduces blockchain technology and develops this culture. The government likes to break records and make the emirate the best in all spheres.
The crypto industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of the global economy. People come here not just for the simplified bureaucracy and excess profits, but also for the new kind of thinking. Blockchain offers people incredible prospects for growth and self-expression.
Most still associate this term with price quotes, lines of code and fraudsters. Once they see the clutter of complex words and terms, the average person most often loses interest. Recently, blockchain has developed a strong cultural component. Phenomena like digital art and metaverses are already changing the world. The acronyms P2E and DAO will begin to change it in the near future.
I hope that the example of the companies on the list will inspire you to create something brand new!
NFT-marketplace selling augmented reality tokens. According to founder Ilya Popov, all NFTs will be adapted for use in the metaverse.
Ilya has a serious background in brand building – he founded and developed Russian animated television series Kikoriki (Smeshariki). This gives rise to hopes of interesting collaborations with big brands. Surely, many cartoon partners will want to come into the metaverse. There are well-known game makers and artists on the team. They say that their Russian background does not prevent ARTOYS from developing business in the UAE.
ARTOYS specialises in collectible NFTs based on characters from pop culture. Along with the creation of the collection, the company will formulate the concept of gamified use of the tokens.
Cartoons and games share a licence to use the brand in new media, and the company will adapt the brand to new formats. The company says the product appeals to children and adults alike.
ARTOYS is not just creating digital souvenirs, but rather collectibles. The limited edition can keep the NFT from devaluing.
ARTOYS believes that the metaverse market will reach a capitalisation of 1.5 trillion with 1 billion users by 2030. Their goal is 15% of the collectible NFT market in 5 years, that's about $1.2 billion.
ARTOYS are now claiming 600,000 visitors to the test platform. They have already raised $750,000 already on the seed funding round.
Experts estimate that virtual parties, digital land and financial services in the metaverse will bring in $13 trillion to the crypto-industry by 2030.
Currently, metaverses account for just 3% ($513 million) of the total NFT market. As more companies enter this new space, the market share will grow exponentially.
Brands believe that events that add music, art, and fashion to their digital marketing can give fans an incredible experience. Vibrant emotions increase brand loyalty, not to mention gifts.
The future is in the creative economy!
Money at ARTOYS is made from commissions on sales. Primary deductions are 30%, with only 5% taken from the secondary market.
Comparing their product with the biggest NFT-marketplace OpenSea, they say that their marketplace is focused on collectible tokens (OpenSea has a lot of NFT-art) and has a convenient toolbar and pages for artists and producers. The creators also note the gamification of the site.
They plan to create their own ARTK token, start stacking… well, the standard Web3 start-up kit. Only 1% of the total number of tokens will be publicly traded, while the private round has been allocated 20%.
The service looks like a social network, by the way, Coinbase followed the same path – their marketplace has likes and comments on NFT.
ARTOYS already boasts at least one major client – they launched a platform for digital mascots at EXPO 2020.
Theater of Digital Art is a unique venue that combines a theatre space with an immersive experience. They hold exhibitions of digital art with NFT sales, concerts and performances, as well as workshops for children and adults.
The main feature of ToDA is an offline venue that combines museum and theatre formats. The founders are more about a synthesis of arts and experiences than an immersive experience.
In addition, ToDA is open to experimentation and is constantly bringing new formats to Dubai. They were the first to open a large exhibition of international digital art with NFT sales. ToDA has recently launched an international open call for digital artists and collected entries from over 50 countries. These works will form their first exhibition in the metaverse.
ToDA are confident that they fit perfectly into the reality of the UAE. They have a feeling that a kind of cultural spring is happening here. In their opinion, Dubai is fertile ground for experimentation with projects and formats. Dubai's entertainment market is well-developed, but not very diverse. The feeling is that people are tired of having fun; they want something more sophisticated, interesting and educational.
Physical galleries with NFT are a logical evolution of the 2021 crypto boom. NFT marketplace SuperRare has opened its first physical art gallery in New York, and NFT's most famous generative art project Art Blocks has announced its participation in the Venice Biennale, the oldest contemporary art exhibition in the world.
The intersection of the physical and the virtual is where ToDA works. The team says it has not encountered discrimination. Besides Russians, ToDA is being developed by Filipinos, South Africans and Egyptians. The founder's name is Vitaly Chebanov, and he is from Russia.
The ToDA team tries to balance entertainment and art and consistently bring quality projects in all areas of art.
The theatre has plans to expand. They are opening a franchise in Israel in May. The team claims they have 3 franchise requests in other countries.
ToDA are not sure if Dubai is forever, and say forever is a scary word. They have many ambitious plans for the future. The team is successfully developing the brand and breaking new ground.
A platform for law and justice on blockchain, where each person and project will have a profile with its own indelible history and ratings. Negative ratings can be corrected by redeeming themselves.
Their uniqueness lies in their reputation system, smart laws and smart courts for any environment of interactions in the real and virtual worlds. Crypto enthusiasts will be able to check the reputation of a project's author through a widget before investing. YourJustice is an analytical tool for them, enhancing the quality of their solutions.
Andrey Panferov, CEO of YourJustice, has a Russian passport, but he is only a quarter Russian. He has Ukrainian, Armenian and Georgian blood. According to him, this is a bit of a hindrance for business because it is now harder for funds to work with Russian founders. YourJustice's team includes people from all over the world: the USA, France, England, Ukraine, Belarus and Portugal. Their editors are from Estonia, India and the USA.
A Russian passport affects business, but it also helps – there are funds with Russian members. Dubai is an international place, and people here are mostly politically-agnostic
Blockchain-based management systems are a new stage in the development of technology. They can be used to simplify many processes in companies and even states. The legal aspects of crypto assets are a controversial topic. The industries are actively developing and elements of them can be seen in this start-up.
YourJustice has raised a round of $330,000 and is now closing the round at $2,000,000. The team has 20 people from 14 countries and the project is only 9 months old.
YourJustice wants to become a mediation and relationship improvement tool. Influencers will get honest and validated feedback on their activism and attract an audience through transparency.
YourJustice is convinced that the mindset, outlook of the funders and their ability to find common ground and create a future in the present is much more important than background, Lena got a residency in Dubai and decided to stay in the city because there is a huge number of people making their dreams come true there.
'Every building is someone else's dream. Everyone is very supportive and helps each other out. I really like it here', he says