No, Kuwait is not cracking down on crypto currency exchanges and is not having to deal with crypto crimes stemming from e-wallet thefts, or Bitcoin money laundering.
Digital currency trading is simply banned in the country, following last December’s Ministry of Finance forbidding financial institutions from trading the tokens on the basis that trading is out of the control of official Kuwait financial organisations, as the cryptocurrency is not backed by the Central Bank.
Now, a fatwa was issued in Kuwait against Bitcoin trading, reports Al-Rai daily.
A member of the Fatwa Committee in the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Dr Ahmad Al-Hajji Al-Kurdi said trading in Bitcoin is “unclear.”
Could fatwas stop the development of cryptos in the region?
According to the Egyptian New Arab daily, and following a December2017 ban on Bitcoin trading issued by the Egyptian government, January 2018 saw Egypt’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Shawki Allam issuing a fatwa and ruling that trading of Bitcoin was against Islamic Sharia citing its risky and unregulated nature which could lead to tax evasion, piracy, money laundering, and fraud.
Allam told Egypt Today that he met with a group of economic experts to reach his final ruling.
Egypt’s first Bitcoin exchange was opened in August 2017.
Saudi’s position unclear
In December 2017, Saudi cleric Assim al-Hakeem ruled that cryptocurrencies are prohibited under Islamic law because they are “ambiguous” and provide anonymity to criminals.
“There is a lot of ambiguity, if I have dollars and you have euros and we want to exchange this is permissible in Islam with the condition that it is hand-to-hand… in virtual currencies you don’t have this,” al-Hakeem said.
But according to Coindesk, last December saw the central banks of the UAE and Saudi launching a pilot initiative that will see the two institutions test a new cryptocurrency for cross-border payments.
Mubarak Rashid al-Mansouri, the UAE central bank’s governor, unveiled the initiative at a meeting of the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF).
“This is the first times the monetary authorities of two countries cooperation to use blockchain technology,” he said.
Al-Mansouri described the project as a “digitisation of what we do already between central banks and banks.”
The UAE has no issues with crypto, having announced 2018 as the year ofcryptocurrency, and is home to a number of private and public sector-driven initiatives and businesses dealing with crypto exchange and other financial transactions.
Bitcoin, cryptos crashing and burning, losing $108bn
According to CNBC, Bitcoin briefly plunged to $9,969 late Tuesday afternoon on exchange platform Coinbase, a 50% drop from mid-December’s $19,800, with nearly every major crypto currency suffering massive losses during the day, falling anywhere from 15% to 30%.
“Digital currency ethereum plunged 30% Tuesday, to below $1,000 hitting a low of $854, while ripple fell below $1 to $0.9cents,” said CNBC.
Following a South Korean crypto crackdown on digital exchange players, and according to industry site Quartz, Chinese authorities plan to widen their crackdown on domestic crypto-trades, by targeting methods including over-the-counter trading, offshore sites used for centralized trading, and peer-to-peer trading of large transactions, quoting a report from the state-run Securities Times published Tuesday January 16, 2018.
Pan Gongsheng, a vice governor of the Chinese Central Bank has vowed to end bitcoin mining in the country and earlier this month, the body issued a notice asking local governments to “guide” bitcoin-mining operations to make an “orderly exit” from the business.