Turkey: Trade of cryptocurrencies inappropriate for Muslims!(?)

The Turkish Bureau of Religious Affairs, Diyanet, recently responded to a believer’s request on its website. For Muslims, virtual currency trading is “inappropriate” because it is simply not recognized by the state. For a currency to have a monetary value, it must either be state-authorized or have its own value, such as gold.

If Turkish citizens have questions about their beliefs, they can also submit them online to the Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı (Bureau of Religious Affairs). The authority under the Prime Minister employs more than 100,000 people and has an annual budget of more than one billion euros. The Diyanet is the supreme Islamic authority of the country.

In the official response to the request, the Bureau argues that crypto currencies such as Ethereum or Bitcoin are “encrypted currencies for everyone” that would allow for financial transfers to the exclusion of a centralized revenue authority. However, the value of a currency valid for Muslims must be awarded either by a state authority. Or it is a precious metal such as gold, which is very valuable because of its unique nature. This was reported recently by the Turkish online magazine ensonhaber.com

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Believing Muslims can not regard virtual currencies as money, although they are sometimes used in Turkey as a means of exchange. They do not possess the prestige and credibility that the state gives to regular currencies.

In addition, in the view of Diyanet aspects such as a central financial institution and government guarantees are missing. It is not appropriate for Muslims to speculate with crypto currencies either. One should not use the Bitcoin also for the payment of “unauthorized work” or for transactions, which offend against the Turkish money laundering law. It is also frowned upon to escape state supervision and control by such means.

For the moment it remains to be seen to what extent this official assessment will actually affect the behavior of Turkish investors.

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