A pioneering mosque in East London, which made history* by becoming the first in Britain to accept crypto-currency donations, has exceeded its £10,000 alms target for Ramadan. A little over a month ago, Masjid Ramadan announced it was enabling Zakat and Sadaqah donations in Bitcoin and Ethereum – the two most popular crypto-currencies in the world. By the end of its 30-day Ramadan campaign, the mosque had raised a total of £17,443, of which £13,983 were crypto-currency donations.
Located in Dalston, Masjid Ramadan, also known as Shacklewell Lane Mosque, received 24 crypto-currency donations throughout the holy month of Ramadan, which ran from 17 May to 14 June. Of these, seventeen were in Bitcoin (14 for Zakat**, 3 for Sadaqah**), and seven were in Ethereum (4 for Zakat, 3 for Sadaqah). The largest one-off crypto-currency donation Masjid Ramadan received was 14.99 Ethereum for Sadaqah, worth more than £5,200. The global media coverage about the ‘Zakat campaign’ led to interest from as far afield as Indonesia from an Ethereum miner; it’s believed one of the Ethereum donations was as a result of this enquiry.
As advised by its religious leaders, Masjid Ramadan liquidated its crypto-currency donations promptly to not fall foul of Islam’s speculation rule, which prevents the trading of such assets. Using reputable 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: “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 crypto-currency 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 crypto-currency 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.”