California-based Stellar announced that it has received certification from Bahrain-based Shariyah Review Bureau for its blockchain platform and related cryptocurrency.
The development highlights the growth of fintech companies into Middle East and Southeast Asia’s emerging markets, prompting Islamic scholars to assess the religious validity of digital currencies which is aimed at integrating the technology into the field of Shari’ah-compliant financial products. Lisa Nestor, Director of partnership at Stellar, said that the firm has been exploring partnerships with financial firms in the Gulf region and seeking the certification will help widen those discussions. “We have been looking to work with companies that facilitate remittances, including in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. It’s a huge market, added Nestor.
Some Gulf regulators have also expressed scepticism, but Bahrain has bucked the trend by exploring the use of digital currencies to boost its role as a regional financial hub. In statement, the Shariyah Review Bureau said that it has reviewed the properties and applications of the Stellar network and has promulgated guidance and guidelines that enable Shari’ah compliant applications of Stellar technology in Islamic financial institutions.—Agencies