AFP reports that Indonesia’s highest religious body has declared that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are banned under Islamic law and should not be traded in the world’s largest Muslim nation.
A powerful council of ulema has issued a fatwa, or religious edict, while trading in virtual currencies is increasing in Indonesia and elsewhere.
Fatwas have no legal effect in the country of Southeast Asia of 270 million, but the declaration could potentially convince many Muslims to avoid cryptocurrencies.
After Thursday’s meeting, the Council compared cryptocurrencies to gambling, which is haram, which is prohibited by Islamic law.
Cryptocurrencies as commodities or digital assets are illegal to trade because they have elements of uncertainty, bets and damage
religious decree chief Niam Sholeh told AFP.
It’s like a gambling bet
According to him, digital currencies are not tangible assets and their value can vary significantly, thus violating Islamic law.
Transactions in Indonesia, based on cryptocurrencies, amounted to about 370 trillion rupees ($26 billion) in the first five months of 2021, an increase from a year earlier, Trade Minister Mohammed Lutfi said in June.
The edict comes after the Central Bank of Indonesia said it was considering issuing its own digital currency.
In 2019, the Aceh Provincial Council branch issued a fatwa about the extremely popular but brutal online game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) for fear of inciting real-world violence.
It recently issued a fatwa against online lending while announcing that COVID-19 vaccines are allowed under Islamic law, even if they contain pork products, which are usually banned for Muslims.