The first mosque in Britain to accept cryptocurrency donations exceeded its £10,000 target during Ramadan.
A little over a month ago, Masjid Ramadan in Dalston, East London, announced it was enabling Zakat and Sadaqah donations in Bitcoin and Ethereum – the two most popular cryptocurrencies in the world. By the end of its 30-day Ramadan campaign, the mosque raised a total of £17,443, of which £13,983 were cryptocurrency donations.
Masjid Ramadan, also known as Shacklewell Lane Mosque, says it received 24 cryptocurrency donations. Of these, 17 were in Bitcoin (14 for Zakat and 3 for Sadaqah), and seven were in Ethereum (4 for Zakat and 3 for Sadaqah).
The largest one-off cryptocurrency donation Masjid Ramadan received was 14.99 Ethereum for Sadaqah, worth more than £5,200.
As advised by its religious leaders, Masjid Ramadan liquidated its cryptocurrency donations promptly to not fall foul of Islam’s speculation rule, which prevents the trading of such assets. Using currency exchanges like LocalBitcoin.com and LocalEthereum.com, the mosque transacted with those wanting to buy its Bitcoins and Ethereum in exchange for Sterling, and the sums were deposited directly into the mosque’s bank account.
Erkin Guney, chairman of the mosque’s Board of Trustees, expressed his delight at the outcome of the Ramadan campaign. He said: “We are truly grateful to everyone who donated whether through crypto-currency or by conventional means.
“Many people at the mosque were initially sceptical about us accepting this new money, but the fact we received four times more in cryptocurrency donations shows how important it is to be open to these new digital currencies.
“These donations will make a huge difference to our mosque and charitable works.”
The donations are earmarked for three principal areas by the UK Turkish Islamic Trust, a registered charity which administers Masjid Ramadan: carrying out essential repairs at the mosque, assisting poor Muslim families with funeral costs, and feeding and offering shelter to those in need in the local area.
Gurmit Singh, founder of Combo Innovation, a London-based Islamic finance blockchain technology start-up who advised and assisted the mosque on how to receive, store and sell cryptocurrency safely, said: “We are very pleased with the response to Masjid Ramadan’s Crypto Zakat and Sadaqah initiative and how it has complimented their conventional methods of raising funds, whilst remaining within Islamic doctrine.
“I hope other mosques and charities will now follow Masjid Ramadan’s lead to take advantage of this important new revenue stream. We feel the potential Blockchain technology can have on redistributing wealth within the global Islamic community is immense and invite institutions to explore other possible applications of this technology with us.”
The permissibility of cryptocurrencies as a legitimate currency and commodity from an Islamic standpoint has been the cause of much debate, especially on social media.
Whilst a minority of scholars have taken clear positions on the matter, the vast majority of prominent UK scholars and European fatwa councils are still looking into cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.