The grand mufti of Egypt has said that bitcoin is forbidden is Islam and warned that the digital currency could be used for criminal purposes. According to Shawqi Allam, bitcoin poses “high risks to individuals and states.”
It could provide “stable and secure financial resources for terrorists and criminal groups,” said Allam, who acts as the country’s official interpreter of Islamic law.
Minting and issuing currency is an “absolute right” of monetary institutions and “one of the most specific functions of the state,” he said.
Bitcoin, launched in 2009, is a virtual currency created by computer code. It records transactions that are updated in real time on an online ledger and maintained by a network of computers.
Bitcoin’s value rose to $19,500 in December from around $1000 last January, however, the valuation started to drop after warnings from governments and analysts about the risk and volatility associated with cryptocurrencies.