Fintech Football: Qatar's Game Plan for World Cup

All eyes are on Qatar as the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. It’s making history by being the first Arab country to host the World Cup. That being said, Qatar has made several changes to make things easier for fans of the beautiful game, and of course, fintech is at the heart of it all.

The fintech journey

The oil and gas country jumped start its digital economy plan when Covid-19 hit and fintech became a central focus to diversify their economy. Qatar’s journey started way back in 2017 by establishing the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) fintech unit with a Sharia-compliant fintech framework and regulations.

Qatar also rolled out the Qatar Fintech Hub (QFTH), launching two of the first-ever specialised fintech incubator and accelerator programs. Ease of access and convenience make it clear why Qatar has become an appealing playground for fintech start-ups on a global scale.

To prepare for the world cup, Qatar spent over $200 billion on its infrastructure so it would be able to accommodate the influx of football fanatics. Going cashless was an important milestone in the country’s fintech journey.

So, to no one’s surprise, just ahead of the World Cup 2022, QCB launched its first-ever licenced digital payment service to iPay by Vodafone Qatar and Ooredoo Money. Since the country is expected to welcome millions of visitors, an efficient payment system was needed to be put in place and accommodate both the citizens and international fans.

One card for all

As part of its World Cup preparation, Qatar introduced the digital Hayya Card. If you've already purchased your match tickets then you know what I am about to say. Hayya Card is a Fan ID which gives you access to Qatar and the stadiums. Not only that, but it gives you free access to metro, bus transportation on match days, fan events, grants discounts, and more!

Crypto in Qatar?

The cryptocurrency market doesn’t seem to be a hit in the Arab world, yet! But never say never. QCB’s governor, Sheikh Abdulla bin Saoud Al Thani, said in 2021 that they are monitoring the crypto space and may open their doors to crypto companies in the country. With the way Qatar is moving, it doesn’t seem like a far-fetched reality. Just like Ted Lasso, you just gotta

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