A Day In The Life Of The Dubai Crypto Scene

By Aslan Vega

With everything as fluid and up and down as it is today, and all eyes glued to their TV screens or mobiles; it is difficult to be positive and uplifting about anything these days. But life must somehow go on and if you have a big dream Dubai is the place for you.

It’s not only the place for big dreamers and visionaries but also for conscientious objectors to the current situation in the world. I set off in hope then from my tiny flat in London and took the bus to catch the plane to Istanbul and then on to the eclectic desert city of the future… Dubai.

Dubai is the home of financiers, Indian and African migrant workers and dreamers from all over the world. Since the outbreak of the Ukrainian war more than 300,000 Russians have come here to start a new life away from the madness of what we are all witnessing each day. Dubai is a superhot city with the world’s tallest buildings and part of the United Arab Emirates.

In these turbulent times all we can rely on besides each other is our culture and our ability to adapt to different climates both political, economic, environmental and real. From a cold wet spring London, I left in my warm jacket and arrived in this superhot dry but green marvel in the middle of the scorching Arabian desert. Here we are seeing cultures of all walks of life managed in the Bedouin style of the guardians of these lands. And it is here that I was invited to my first yacht party on Sunday by the Global Digital Club.

It was a long and tiring journey and sleep evaded me as I switched planes in Istanbul and took the final leg on to the centre of the cryptoverse and came to the smaller of the two airports on the edge of town.


It is only when you leave the guarded safety of the air-conditioned buildings and shelters that you realise how hot it really is. I arrived around 5 am and it was already 30 degrees Celsius. Later it said 35 but it felt like 50.

The humidity and the sun make it imperative to stay inside any building. What didn’t help was the new shoes I bought which were too small. I took the airport bus into Deira a suburb of Dubai. From there I switched to another double decker air-conditioned and smart bus directly from the Dubai Sharjah Airport. As I travelled along the perfectly paved highways with not too much traffic, I noticed how very green it was. And as I looked more closely, I could see the irrigation hoses that blended in with the trees and manicured green lawns. After I bought my samosa for 3 AEDs and changed my first 100 AEDs (Arab Emirates Dirhams) – 22 UK pounds or 25 euro.

I then took my first leap of faith and got on the bus to Dubai.

I am told by a friend who has lived here a long time that this was the original vision of the founding fathers. To turn the desert into a green paradise.

It also has the worlds’ highest building at 828 metres (Bir Khalifa), the most international visitors at around 100 000 a day and aims to turn the entire city into a climate-controlled bubble. A beacon to humanity of what is possible with a vision and the will to carry it out.

I could not imagine what it was like to work outside in 40-degree heat and humidity.

I understood why it also has the world’s largest shopping mall.

 80% of Dubai’s 2.5 million residents are all expats and many say this place has a wrong reputation as a soulless place. The people here extend their hospitality wherever they can. After my 10th cup of coffee and a conversation with the local security guard from Ghana, I realised everyone is here for the same reason… MONEY. Certainly not the weather!

But Dubai besides being a money magnet for investors, workers and start-ups is also a mecca for people with very BIG ideas! – One of these is the start up the Global Digital Club (GDC) who invited me here. Another one was ME. I realised this is the only place in the world I can put my ideas into action and manifest them. I’ll leave America to Elon Musk, my compatriot and see what I can do in this oven in the desert.

I stopped off in Deira and got some new shoes that fitted better, a Nepalese soup and caught the longest metro in the world to the World Trade Centre.

I noticed a separate carriage for women, but many said that was preferable than getting touched up or molested and not an actual apartheid barrier. There were women in the men’s carriage – but that was from choice. Generally, all nations and genders are respected here. But this is not an amusement park.

Dubai was fortunate, and unfortunate to host last years’ Expo 2020. I say unfortunate because whilst it is a showcase of incredible products from all over the world… it is also very expensive to put on (Spain is still paying off its debts from 1992).

The truth is only 6% of all Dubai’s income comes from fossil fuels. The rest is from trade and tourism. This is not a one trick pony town.

And despite the pandemic and the unsavoury economic climate… The crypto world is booming!

With no personal or income tax payable – it has become a haven for ambitious entrepreneurs who want to change the world – and get rich doing it! It is materialism on steroids… but deep within that exists also the HEART of humanity!

One cannot deny that whoever had the crazy idea of creating the New Centre or London of the world here – with all its paradoxes… Dubai is a radical place giving space to dreamers and visionaries alike.Dubai is ALSO centre of the wild WILD East of the Cryptosphere. It is here where dreams come true – or not!

And it is here I came on a hot afternoon to meet up with my hosts to learn more about their vision of the future, and how we can work together for a better world. I felt like I was melting. Fortunately, my phone could be charged using a UK charger, so I didn’t need an adapter.


The GDC was started as group of investors and individuals to be a part of this dynamic and changing crypto universe that most of us have no idea where to begin. How to navigate.

Their business model is very simple.

They organise events and seminars as well as private consultations to educate “the unwashed” how to invest their hard-earned money into this new economy without “losing your shirt”. Knowledge is power – and to get rich we need knowledge. But wisdom is knowing the difference between fruitful investments and folly.

At first, I was sceptical. I was even paranoid because according to the mainstream news all Russians are evil, and I should be paranoid about anything from Moscow – HELP!

Was this another clever pyramid scheme, or was this a part of something NEW emerging from the shadow of the OLD?

I realised the only way forward was to have an OPEN mind… So, I decided to climb on board and find out.

Firstly, the GDC (Global Digital Club) advertises itself as:

Everything you need to grow your capital fast in one place. Get access to the powerful community right now.” A decentralised marketplace which offers on and offline support for its members.”

Not only this, but more.

It still ALL seemed a mystery to me, but I wanted to understand how it worked.


My first event had nothing to do with work at all.

It was a refreshing approach to getting to know each other… as a community, or an ecosystem… which in this fractured multidimensional world is not an easy thing to do.

The GDC seeks to be a part of the “green absolution“ which comes with the new economy we are entering right now. It is here that Dubai also seeks to become a global net ZERO zone like London and others. To this end carbon sequestration is a priority for the local government and his Royal Highness.

But I digress…

We constantly live in two, or three realities which are now compounded with the complexities of the so called “meta” or “beyond” the universe.

For old school people still thinking analogue we wonder about NFTs and staking – and all the other little nomenclature that comes with this new DIGITAL economy. There is the age old fear that this new reality will take away our free will… What we do know is that whilst you can buy KNOWLEDGE… you can’t buy WISDOM!

That comes from years of experience. 

“Hurry up let’s go!” – the air-conditioned taxi took us to “Big Daddy” in the boat marina where in a few minutes we met up with strangers from all over the world including the UK -the USA and even Morocco, Botswana and Bangladesh.

All the drinks and snacks were included in the price tag, and we set sail into the lagoon not far off whilst a DJ played “Jerusalema”, and the latest hits from Havana as well as other dance anthems on demand.

It was an odd eclectic mix of people and we stopped to use a jet ski or a boat car and swim in the salty bay beneath the range of imaginative forest of sexy skyscrapers on the distant horizon. It was hot. Very hot.

Somehow being near the water cooled us off, and despite alcohol being available it was important to abstain for the sake of the weather. I took the middle ground and tried the punch. Then I simply jumped in the water -clothes and all and swam with the rest in the passive smooth seawaters of this strange new world I had found myself in.

“Big Daddy” went out for a cruise for the next 3 hours… which was just enough time to get to know people you’ve never met before, or more unlikely to meet anywhere else on this planet…

Investors – bankers, aspirant hippies, groupies and jetsetters altogether. All interested in the NEW digital economy that is currently shaking the world.  In a way as I clutched the beak of a blown-up plastic swan and shadow punched its head-it all seemed very surreal. Yes… even artificial. But these were REAL people all around me. Some I connected with – whilst others I did not. It was definitely a one-of-a-kind experience and at the end our sea cruise, I had made one or two new friends. I was not alone. Thank God.

All thanks to “Big Daddy” and the GDC.

It was a quick return to the nearby master villa where we all changed clothes and ate lunch, and cooled off for an hour or two with watermelon slices. Then it was all systems go.

The GDC do everything together and are totally focussed on achieving success in their mission to create an online community and offline relationships. Not only do they offer investment advice, but they also give lessons on what the hell is going on in crypto currency WORLD! And this advice is invaluable to make money and not stagnate in the morass of oblivion and ignorance.

It’s headed up by a team of qualified and experienced fintech, marketing, media and developer people who see the tsunami that is coming in the world of decentralised finance and indeed to all humanity today!

This is true forward planning. To be a part of a trustworthy community with integrity. WOW!

For once in our history we have a chance to change our narrative. We can co create a reality of self-empowerment, sovereignty and economic freedom that is available to every hard-working person- no matter your colour or your ideology, or your nation state. For me that is a surprising fact and a massive breakthrough

Despite everything that is going on in the world with cancel culture, and fake news… with the pandemic… and the elephant in the room… the War in Eastern Europe and with world markets in turmoil… Here in this outlandish SCORCHED town we have people that want it seems to follow the model of “DAO” * and bring an end to the hegemony of the dictators.

*(Decentralised – Autonomous – Organised – and Sovereign methods to bring about a new and better world for all.) I was intrigued.

I wanted to learn more.


I rushed to put on my clean pressed zoot suit and shirt and get ready for the next move on the chess board.

It was an event at the Opus hotel which is in a LARGE room on the 11th floor.

There I was to meet up with Victor Nesterenko – a Ukrainian currently living in Dubai and organising a dedicated space for crypto and other digital events.

He showed me the offices and the giant room below under construction of 150 people. “We want to make this space available for anyone to use to be a part of this new digital economy!” It was quite impressive.

The conflict in Ukraine seemed very far away as he said this, and I wondered how he felt working as he did so far from this arena of conflict. Perhaps it is time to make choices about our identity and our responsibility as humans to each other.

Whilst we all empathise for what is going on in this country; we all realise there is very little we can do. Or can we?

This war belongs to the warmongers for now.

It is us, as peacemakers, who can change the future by putting back the POWER in the hands of the PEOPLE! This is the biggest contribution to “World Peace” that anyone can make.

And this mastermind class event was a place where this could really happen.

Here I met up with big investment company representatives, investors, visionaries and people making a living from crypto currency and the meta verse.

Most of them whether they manage portfolios or are independent operators are youngish up and coming individuals from every nation of the world going beyond these foreign confrontational politics that create pandemonium and havoc for profit. They are without doubt wanting a BETTER life.

At the same time there are people here just for themselves. We cannot judge them. But I have found in my own life it is class and culture that defines you; not nationality and religion! What good is either if you act as a failed human being and do not RESPECT yourself.

I had earlier met up with a lady from Africa and she was working as a humble servant to feed her family and support her only child with the low wages she received.

Imagine that this child needed an operation to fix her hands burnt by a scalding pot that landed on it. Imagine that all she needed was a way of raising enough money to fix her 6-year-old child’s hands so she could peel potatoes for her grandmother….? For us this amount is little.

But for her, they represent an entire year’s wages.

Now imagine that all that is possible in the new digital economy. And this is what the mastermind class essentially does.

“It educates and empowers the ignorant and the unknowing. It brings LIGHT in the darkness. And by so doing it changes the world.”

So, if anyone asks me… why should I invest in a club?, or go to such events that are the frontline of this pioneering new industry of NFTS – apps and tokenomics… why I should do this?…


I will think about helping this lady in Africa, and seeing her hands restructured and repaired by the power of solidarity, the crypto-sphere and people with a BEATING HEART!

Therefore, I travel and live to learn beyond what I am fed on a TV screen. I switch off the input and open my eyes and ears.

Later that day I went for a swim in the bay with the boys, and we brainstormed how we could reach more people with the GOOD NEWS!

YES! We can do something about it.

YES, we can WIN over the dark cloud that blights this planet. YES, we can touch that rainbow on the sky… YES – we can fix that child’s hands… And YES.


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Shiti Rastogi Manghani

Shiti Rastogi Manghani

Chief Marketing Offiicer, STEPN
Managed multi-million-dollar projects to founding AI start-up across US, UK, Europe and India

Shiti is an award-winning business leader with 14 years of experience across 11 countries managing multi-million-dollar projects to founding AI start-up across US, UK, Europe and India.

Based in the UK, Shiti is an Electronics Engineer and holds an MBA in Marketing. Having launched multiple products successfully in international markets, her skills lie at the cross-section of technology and business.

Shiti strongly believes in harnessing the power of technology for social impact. She founded her own computer vision-based AI start-up to be amongst Top 50 wellbeing start-ups in the UK (At no. 14) and in the Top 100 health companies in the UK. Previously, she has worked towards launching Wall Street Journal’s digital arm in India and building power brands at PepsiCo US.

Shiti won UK govt’s Exceptional Talent 2021, was nominated in the Women Tech Network Global Awards in the category “Women-Led Tech-Startup of the Year 2020”, finalist in the “Entrepreneur of the Year 2021” category by Microsoft’s Diversity in Tech awards and been a panelist at the prestigious LSX World Congress for Longevity and been published across major technology, healthcare and startup-focused media.

She is an active member of female founders and technology forums in the UK and worldwide, and has been profiled on Women Of Wearable, She Can Code and other industry-leading platforms. She has been named as a “Woman to Watch” in HealthTech, a “Trailblazer” in the Digital Longevity space, and a “Fem Foundry Leader” in digital-technology.

Shiti presently serves STEPN as their Chief Marketing Officer. STEPN is a web3 lifestyle and fitness app that is taking move-to-earn sector by storm. Shiti has firsthand seen the power of democratizing healthcare into hands of common people. She therefore passionately shares STEPN’s mission to bring millions of people to web3.

Faith "Queen Wiki" Sloan

Generated $92 million in 9 months

Widely recognized as an expert in Cryptocurrency, Blockchain Technology and Decentralized Finance, she is the go-to person in social media where people go to learn about the New Digital Economy.

With a Bachelors of Science in Quantitative Methods and a Masters of Science in Systems Management and Software Engineering, she has authored 22 papers.

Since 2016 Queen Wiki has presented at conferences while sharing her passion for mass adoption of cryptocurrency.

Her past experience is varied as a Software Engineer all the way to Senior Management in corporate settings. She then ventured out on her own as a mercenary consultant with a client list that includes Pacific Bell, Netscape, USWest, Sprint, Hewlett-Packard and many dot com startups. She ventured into the world of network marketing for 30 years where her last venture was her most successful one.

She along with her leaders generated $92 million in sales volume in just 9 short months where she was heralded as the Top Earner.

Education is her true passion. So, combined with the fast-moving pace of DeFi, she has kept up with industry developments and is a strong advocate of empowering people to become financially self-sufficient in the DeFi space through education.

Kirill Mishanin

Kirill Mishanin

Co-Founder, Infodriver Capital
Top 10 Leading Blockchain Entrepreneur 2021

Co-Founder at Infodriver Capital, asset management fund and blockchain consulting company.

10 years in sales and marketing in HiTech companies, 5 years of business development experience in the blockchain industry.

Former Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, Buffalo Technologies business development manager in the CIS region.

Kirill Mishanin has been involved in the crypto space since 2017 and runs technical partnerships with TOP IT companies (IBM, Oracle, Alibaba, Lenovo).

He also participates in World NFT&DeFi Summit, World Blockchain Summit, Smart Summit, The Blockchain Real Estate Summit, Future Innovation Summit, Global Distributed Cloud, Dubai Blockchain Expo and World of Web3 Summit.

He is a Top 10 Leading Blockchain Entrepreneur 2021.

Olivia Mushamba

Olivia Mushamba

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Olivia has mentored and produced successful entrepreneurs in Africa and has earned herself a position as one of South Africa’s most sought-after Cryptocurrency mentors.

Messiah Wealth

Messiah Wealth

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Farzam Kalamabaidi

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Farzam Kamalabadi, Persian-American, is a world-renowned influential personality specially in China, Middle East, Africa, and the West.

On strategy level globally Kamalabadi is in high relations with national leaders of some 100 countries at the level of Presidents & Prime Ministers, or Sultans & Kings, and/or Royal Families, including USA, China, all GCC, Africa, Europe, among others.

In particular he is slated as “The Most Influential Foreign Figure in Modern China History” by Chinese state media, United Nations’ Pictorial magazine, Arabian Business Arabic weekly, and other media in the United States and Europe.

Kamalabadi is Senior Economic Advisor to over 20 municipal and regional governments in China. He is the only foreigner who has masterminded and created several rounds of national policy of China, which have been signed, sealed, and endorsed in writing by China’s state leaders including the President, the Premier, and several other key national leaders collectively.

Kamalabadi is the person who guided and directed Africa’s first ever bloodless and zero- bullet power transition — Zimbabwe November 2017.

A well-known figure in the oil & gas and energy sector on the global stage, Kamalabadi has been the chairman or first keynote speaker at major petroleum & energy summits. He served in various capacities for economic development of nations as Senior Advisor to a number of countries’ national oil systems, including Oman, Kuwait, and China. He has successfully handled various oil and petrochemical trading deals and projects such as securing exploration rights and concessions. He is the only foreign personality in both the two national and several provincial private oil and gas associations of China in the first decade of their formation.

As the originating founder of the New Silk Road policy and China-GCC/MENA/Central Asia cooperation corridor, Kamalabadi was instrumental in China-Tajkistan boarder opening; China-Oman trade volume hyper jump from $600mm to $11Bn between 2001 to 2007; Gulf Cooperation Council’s series of Sovereign Wealth Funds’ investments into Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), the first ever in world history.

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Bruce Jeong

Bruce Jeong

Deputy CEO, EULOGIAN Foundation
Eurasia representative of Sheikh Saqer Bin Mohamed Al Qasimi of a royal family office

Bruce Jeong is the representative of Korea CEC (Commonwealth Enterpreneur Club), which belongs to the International Development Alliance, and is a Principal of a DRM BRIDGE FOUNDATION and deputy CEO of EULOGIAN Foundation.

“I became an Eurasia representative of Sheikh Saqer Bin Mohamed Al Qasimi of a royal family office officially not as an Advisor but a Board member and currently a Deputy CEO of the Eulogian Foundation and mainly working about the Crypto M&A, Blockchain IPO, and consulting about the development of a CBDC and Crypto Bank”.

He is a Lawyer and an Accountant. Bruce has built up a smart medical city with Google and Samsung companies in Uzbekistan, Korea, Saudi and built up a 3D NFT and Digital Bank.

Also started an ESG/SDG business and Metaverse NFT blockchain payment system.

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Erik Nurm

Co-founder and CMO Coinswap.Space
Educated 10,000 people about the DeFi space

Erik is the highest preferred founder, entrepreneur and NFT enthusiast.

He started his path as online entrepreneur ten years ago. Was excellent man of 6 languages, gain reputation as an advisor to board members for various companies.

Found his path to crypto space in 2017, educated 10,000 people about the DeFi space. His passion is to solve the biggest problem in DeFi – user adoption and assortment of fully equal opportunities in DeFi space.

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Michael Gurvich

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Did his first 1,000,000$ before the age 30

Living in Israel, at his past – Israeli champion in the short distance and 3d place in the world championship. Nowadays he is investing in projects, companies and businesses.

Has an event with Bob Proctor (from the “Secret” movie) and shared stage with him and others successful mentors from over the world.

Has over 100,000 followers in the various networks.

During the last 17 years he participated in affiliate marketing, built organization of 25,000 people worldwide and did his first 1,000,000$ before the age 30.

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Well travelled in South East Asia, launched few MLM companies in Vietnam and Cambodia, built a team of 5000+ entrepreneurs in South East Asian countries. Being a go getter made some great teams and friends all over the globe through dedication and being simple.

“MLM being heart to heart business, I enjoy and leverage it.” – he says.

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Samuel Atebefia Omamuyowin

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Austin built several companies from the ground up, some of which have been sold with a combined worth of over $500m.

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Ángel J. Ortega

Ángel J. Ortega

Financial advisor in cryptocurrencies
Achieved sales over $20M

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From a very young age he proved to be an entrepreneur, inspired by the figure of his father, a great businessman who Angel wanted to become.

When he was 14 years old, he became interested in the world of computers, building his first computers with parts. Traveling through Spain and Europe playing paintball, one of his sports, where he played in the National Team for 2 years.

At the age of 18 he founded his first company with small savings, which 12 years later is the largest in his city in its sector. In 2016 he discovered cryptocurrencies and since then his life changed.

He bought his first computer to mine Ethererum and thus started to get more and more involved with the crypto world.

In 2020 he reached the 13th position in the world in a major investment company thanks to his social skills and contacts, achieving more than 20,000 clients and sales over $20M.

Since the inception of Binance Smart Chain Angel has been studying the interesting DeFi world, surfing the waves of some of the fastest growing coins since its first weeks of inception, such as SafeMoon, realizing millions of dollars worth of gains.

Currently working as a financial advisor specialized in cryptocurrencies, he has several offices in Spain where he provides legal and financial support to his clients. Based in Dubai, he has specialized in the blockchain and DeFi world, where he brings his expertise to startups and companies.

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Ilya Churakov

Ilya Churakov

Founder, Global Digital Club
Guinness Record holder in entrepreneurship, attracted $55 mln in crypto bank ICO

Started as a financial markets expert in 2003. Later headed the Banking Management Fund department, where clients invested from $1 mln.

In 2011 founded the company Expert System – united webinar platform, that a year later became the Guinness Record holder for the biggest webinar in the World with 12k one-time participants. The total number of the students if the educational platform exceeded 5 mln people.

In 2017 together with the team attracted $55 mln in ICO of Crypterium Bank. In 2019 the number of Crypterium users reached 50k worldwide.

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