UAE operator e& (formerly Etisalat) laid out plans to roll out its own non-fungible tokens (NFTs), claiming the launch will make it the first technology and investment conglomerate in the Middle East to offer the digital assets.

In a statement, e& explained the inaugural set of NFTs will be distributed selectively, and its launch highlighted a commitment to advancing tech capabilities as its blockchain arm crossed AED10 billion ($2.7 billion) worth of transactions in 2021.

The operator defined NFTs as digital assets with unique codes stored on blockchain which establish their authenticity and who owns them.

With 5G, e& believes “the creative ways this technology can be used in the NFTs market has no boundaries”, pointing to speed and low-latency benefits which can ensure bidding for the assets goes down to the last millisecond, and provide clear security protocols and reliable access regardless of data size.

Hatim Dowidar, group CEO at e& (pictured) stated the operator’s NFT assets were sourced in the UAE, where it is keen to back “local development of new products, technologies and solutions”.

He also pointed to the metaverse, which was “opening up several avenues to investigate the digital realm in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago”.

NFTs was a major theme at MWC Barcelona 2022, with companies in sport, retail and technology all outlining their ambitions in the segment.