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Dalston mosque becomes ‘first in the UK’ to accept Bitcoin and Ethereum crypto-currency

PUBLISHED: 18:52 22 May 2018 | UPDATED: 18:54 22 May 2018

Gurmit Singh, Erkin Guney and Zayd al Khair. Picture: Ipek Ozerim

Gurmit Singh, Erkin Guney and Zayd al Khair. Picture: Ipek Ozerim

: Ipek Ozerim

A Dalston mosque is thought to be the first in the UK to accept Bitcoin donations, to tap into a potentially phenomenal amount of worldwide cash throughout Ramadan.

Shacklewell Lane Mosque. Picture: Erkin GuneyShacklewell Lane Mosque. Picture: Erkin Guney

Leaders at the Masjid Ramadan have made the decision to also accept another popular crypto-currency, Ethereum, to try and get urgent repairs carried out at the mosque in Shacklewell Lane.

They want to benefit from Muslim crypto-currency users who are obliged to give away 2.5pc of their wealth to charity during the 30-day Muslim festival. Known as Zakat, or Zakah, the annual donation is compulsory for all but the very poorest Muslims.

The mosque, a registered charity, hopes to raise at least £10,000 in crypto-currency donations over Ramadan. 
Erkin Guney, the chairman of the board of trustees, told the Gazette: “We are hoping to bring the attention to the Muslim world we need support. I’ve grown up around here and I have watched the community grow and the challenges it’s faced with - it’s a struggle, with housing, food, the cost of funerals and government changes. We are trying to appeal to a wider audience with the new money. It’s big in the Islamic world, and we have set up a platform for wealthier Muslims outside our community to support and donate to our mosque.”

The founder of blockchain technology start-up Combo Innovation, Gurmit Singh, has advised the mosque on how to receive, store and sell crypto-currency safely.

Gurmit Singh, Erkin Guney and Zayd al Khair. Picture: Ipek OzerimGurmit Singh, Erkin Guney and Zayd al Khair. Picture: Ipek Ozerim

Donations can be made on the mosque’s website, and will be transferred to the bank’s crypto-currency hard wallet which will be visible for all to see. The donation will then be traded for sterling through a currency exchange like LocalBitcoin UK.

“If Muslims, who make up a quarter of the world’s population, hold just 1pc of Bitcoins – or £1.04bn – then £26 million in Zakat contributions is due,” said Mr Singh.

“It’s likely the actual figure is much higher. Currently hardly any mosques or Islamic charities accept Zakat in crypto-currency. They are potentially losing out on millions of pounds.”

Zayd al Khair, a religious advisor at Masjid Ramadan has been gauging opinions of the emerging currency from Islamic scholars all over the world.

“Bitcoin is a new phenomenon so scholars are divided,” he said. “Some have taken a practical approach and others have embraced it fully, and we have decided to take their position.”

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