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Jan 05, 2018 09:55 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Fatwa against bitcoin: Egypt's Grand Mufti bans bitcoin as it is 'forbidden in Islam'

Grand Mufti Shawki Allam said on Monday that the fatwa was issued after thorough consultations with several economic experts

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Photo illustration of Bitcoins
Photo illustration of Bitcoins

The Grand Mufti of Egypt has issued a fatwa banning the use of Bitcoin.  The Mufti has proclaimed that any trade using the popular cryptocurrency is similar to gambling, which is forbidden in Islam.

As per a report in Ahram Online, Grand Mufti Shawki Allam said on Monday that the fatwa was issued after thorough consultations with several economic experts. According to the fatwa, “trading a 'virtual currency' like Bitcoin was not permissible as it is not considered by legitimate bodies as an "acceptable interface of exchange." Besides, he added that country’s legitimate bodies do not accept trade using cryptocurrencies as they “impinge on the state's authority in preserving currency exchange”.

The Mufti also said that bitcoin could negatively affect the legal safety of those who trade with it, and lead to an ease in money laundering and contrabands trade.”

The proclamation by the Mufti comes at a time when the trade and exchange of bitcoin is booming across the globe. The value of the bitcoin has seen a 1300 percent increase since last year and currently, in Indian currency, a single bitcoin is worth Rs 9.56 lakh.

The popularity of the cryptocurrency has been met with mixed response by countries and authorities across the globe. While many countries such as Sweden and Japan have become digital currency friendly most countries have either banned or put strict controls on the cryptocurrency trade.

The Egyptian Mufti is not the first religious leader to take a stand against the digital currency. Earlier in November, Turkey’s highest religious authority the Directorate of Religious Affairs, had advised people against investing in cryptocurrencies due to their lack of regulation and close connection to criminal activities. Similarly, Saudi cleric Assim Al-Hakeem too had ruled last month that cryptocurrencies were banned under the Islamic law.
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