A UK-based mosque has partnered with a British blockchain startup to allow its patrons to give donations in the form of cryptocurrency. This is reportedly the first instance of cryptocurrency donations in a mosque and is seen by many as a major step towards intertwining Muslims with blockchain technology. Moreover, this comes as some have recently suggested that cryptocurrency is suitable for use by Muslims and ”halal”, due to its international nature.
The Masjid Ramadan, also known as the Shacklewell Lane Mosque, is a religious congregation in Dalston, East London. The London-based mosque has reportedly reached out to the local Combo Innovation, a blockchain startup, in order to develop a Bitcoin and Ethereum cryptocurrency wallet for the church. This will allow believers to practice the Ramadan tradition of almsgiving, known as Zakat, through cryptocurrency donations. It is believed that this will bring the congregation and mosque into the 21st century.
The mosque is the only mosque in Britain owned by Turkey. Most notably, their decision to implement cryptocurrency support for almsgiving directly contradicts the stance of the Turkish government, which has declared that cryptocurrency should be seen as incompatible with the faith of Islam. However, whilst some Islamic scholars have taken the same stance as the Turkish government, many others are on the side of the Shacklewell Lane Mosque, and believe that cryptocurrency and the Islamic faith should not pose a contradiction.
The CEO of Combo Innovation, Gurmit Singh, has himself stated that the blockchain startup specializes in so-called ”Islamic compliant blockchain financial solutions”. Creating a modern and easy solution for almsgiving, or Zakat, is a potentially massive market. Singh argued that if Muslims – who make up 25% of the world’s population – were to hold a mere 1% of all the Bitcoin in the world, that would mean that nearly $35M would be due in Zakat contributions this Ramadan. Zakat mandates that all Muslims who have the economic prerequisites should donate 2.5% of their holdings during Ramadan. However, the fact that no mosques, Islamic charities, or similar congregations have accepted Zakat cryptocurrency payments poses a major inconvenience for those looking to donate during Ramadan.
It remains to be seen whether the example set by the Shacklewell Lane Mosque will be followed by other actors or not. The mosque in question is looking to raise around $13,300 to fund repairs needed for the building and has currently received approximately $2,000. If this cryptocurrency method of collecting Zakat turns out to be successful, one could imagine that many similar congregations would explore and potentially implement this solution next time Ramadan comes around.
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Rasmus Pihl is a writer for Toshi Times by day and an avid follower of the blockchain industry by night. Rasmus holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the Gothenburg School of Business, Economics, and Law and runs a Swedish marketing consulting firm. Moreover, when he isn’t writing for Toshi Times, traveling, working or changing the world in some other capacity, Rasmus is more than likely caught up in postgraduate studies.