A Conventional and Sharīʿah Analysis of Bitcoin

In: Arab Law Quarterly
M. Kabir Hassan Professor of Finance and Hibernia Professor of Economics and Finance, Bank One Professor in Business, Hancock Whitney Bank Professor of Economics, Department of Economics and Finance, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA 70148, USA

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Mohammad Sydul Karim Doctoral Candidate, University of New Orleans, LA 70148, USA

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Aishath Muneezac Associate Professor, INCEIF, Kuala Lumpur, 59200, Malaysia

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The contention surrounding Bitcoin’s acceptability and usage has an unsettled premise in both conventional and Sharīʿah law, although digital and cryptocurrencies reflect a lasting reality. This research analyses this contention by examining the concept of currency and/or money and the underpinning trust reposed on its issuing authority against the notion that cryptocurrencies and fiat money differ only in form but share the same substance and purport. Qualitative methodology provides an analysis from conventional as well as Sharīʿah viewpoints to examine the extent cryptocurrencies can gain admittance in contemporary conventional and Islamic finance and economy. The methodology entails non-empirical secondary data sourced from libraries and online databases comprising journal articles, textbooks, newspapers and reports subjected to doctrinal content analysis. Research outcomes show division among stakeholders, including conventional and Sharīʿah scholars, regarding Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Further research is recommended inter alia on ways to adopt Shariah-compliant cryptocurrencies worldwide.

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