Another authority figure has spoken out against the use of cryptocurrencies in Egypt — this time, a religious leader as opposed to a government official.
Shawki Allam, the current Grand Mufti of Egypt, the highest official of the Islamic religious law, said on January 1 that cryptocurrency trading is forbidden under the Islamic religious law due to the risk associated with the activity, according to Egypt Today.
Coindesk.com reported that through the format of a fatwa, an interpretation of the Islamic religious law usually issued by a qualified jurist such as a Grand Mufti, Shawki Allam’s comments are not binding. However, they are still considered a high-level legal opinion, and perhaps mark him one of the first highest-ranking religious leaders advocating the forbiddance of cryptocurrency trading under the Islamic religious law.
In July, Coindesk reported that Egypt’s central bank shot down rumors that the country’s banks might be allowed to handle cryptocurrency. The central bank, via Deputy Governor Gamal Negm, denied the rumors.
“For stability of the Egyptian banking system, the banks deal with the official currencies only, and never deal with any virtual currencies,” Negm told Egyptian economics magazine Amwal Al Ghad.
This case further illustrates the wide disparity of opinion among national leaders toward cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. It also illustrates that any sort of global consensus on the use and legitimacy of cryptocurrencies is unlikely anytime soon.