In an attempt to enlighten and educate Muslims on digital currency technology according to Islamic perspective, University of Lagos Muslim Alumni (UMA) gathered reputable financial experts at a virtual webinar, themed; ‘Digital Currency Technology: Islamic perspective and emerging issues’.
According to the scholars and stakeholders who graced the event held on Sunday, March 7, the adoption of digital currency technology has become imperative for the public to be enlightened and educated.
Speaking during the webinar, the President of UNILAG Muslim Alumni (UMA), Alhaji Shuaib Salis said the popularity of crypto, digital or virtual currencies have surged lately, particularly when the Central Bank of Nigeria placed a ban on cryptocurrency.
He said there is a need to enlighten and educate people on digital currencies because, not many, including the Muslims, are familiar with the currency.
“We thought it fit to step in to provide a platform for enlightment and education, so that all of us will understand and get familiar with digital currency and understand the perspective of Islamic finance and begin to look forward to how the currency could be regulated because digital currency is here to stay, much the same way as other virtual communications apps came and were accepted.
Adding that, “Islam has perspectives and rulings on virtually every issue in the world as Allah has rightly said in Quran 63: 38, ‘We have not left anything unmentioned’.”
The chairman of the occasion, Dr. Muiz Banire, commended the association for creating a platform where people can learn more about cryptocurrency.
Banire, a former Chairman of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), said the policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on cryptocurrency is not in the best interest of the citizens.
According to him, “The issue of cryptocurrency has been controversial in the country in recent weeks. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) decided in their wisdom to stop money deposit from the operators of cryptocurrency.
“I was one of the first persons to write against it though I don’t have confidence in respect of it but the reality of the matter is that the basic knowledge I have on it does not call for absolute ban on the currency.”
He added that the apex bank in recent times has assumed the role of dictator, more or less bullying different sectors of the economy, particularly the financial sector.
“In my very strong view, no country operates successfully in this type of bullying atmosphere, this is strange to a lot of us; no engagement or negotiation,” he added.
Dr Banire also noted that the lines of argument on cryptocurrency is the unknown identity of the operators which poses danger to all by the way of use for criminal purposes which is an argument that is plausible, but the reality of the situation is that there are always better ways of addressing a default.
“Because several of the youths involved in cryptocurrency will end up being unemployed which will enhance social dislocation and insecurity.”
He said there are better ways to address the issue as done in United States and United Kingdom by regulating the process as advocated by the Vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
“Rather than waking up one morning, pulling people out of the process, for me, what we need to do is to regulate the identity of the operators and how it is been operated.”
An Associate Director from EY, Akeem Ogunseni defined digital currency as any form of currency that is not in physical form and can be used as a medium of storage value or a medium of exchange.
He said today’s digital currency came with different perspectives and the idea behind cryptocurrency in terms of transaction is that any transaction made is publicly available for all participants in the network which is not done in the conventional banking.
“Meaning every participant has the privilege to see the kind of transaction that has taken place. Likewise, transactions cannot be reversed as done in conventional banking system except if the recipient is willing to transfer back to the person,” he added.
He further stated that cryptocurrency is strong, secure and reliable, adding that, “It has come to stay and it will continue to gain prominence from one country to another.”
He encouraged those who want to participate in the ecosystem to create time to learn about it.
MD/CEO TrustBanc Arthur, Dr. Bashir Oshodi said many Muslim Scholars are yet to agree whether digital money is accepted, because it has not met the conditions stipulated by the Shari’ah .
They argue that it has not protected wealth to a large extent while few scholars that accept digital currency buttress their point that, even the paper money was also rejected before it was accepted globally.
The Chief Executive Officer of Marble Capital Ltd, Mr. Akeem Oyewale said the reason regulators are scared and are banning digital currency outright is because they are afraid of loss of investment that citizens are exposed to.
He added that regulators are also afraid because cryptocurrency enhances money laundering which can be used for terrorism financing and other criminal activities.
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