Shacklewell Lane Mosque, which is based in the east end of London, recently announced that it would begin to accept cryptocurrency donations. Although not a mainstream idea yet, charities have generally had great success with accepting donations in the form of cryptocurrency. Shacklewell Lane Mosque is no exception to this. The only surprise was the degree to which the proposal would gain popularity among the community of adherents.
Over four times as many donations in cryptocurrency as fiat money
The holy month of Ramadan is not only a month of fasting but also of charity and compassion. During this month, many mosques and Islamic charities call on adherents of the Muslim faith to donate to various humanitarian causes. Typically, these donations come in the form of fiat money. With the Shacklewell Lane Mosque accepting cryptocurrency donations, however, this changed. During the month of Ramadan, the mosque received a total of £3,460 in fiat money donations. That is in and of itself a decent amount of money for a local mosque to collect in one month. However, the mosque also received 24 cryptocurrency donations. Can you guess how much money those donations amounted to? £13,983. Just one individual donated what amounted to £5,200 in cryptocurrency tokens in one single transaction. The majority of the cryptocurrency donations were made in the most popular tokens, like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Skeptics are silenced by the success
Erkin Guney is the chairman of Shacklewell Lane Mosque, and although he was a fan of the initiative, not even he expected it to become such a roaring success. In an interview with iNews, Guney expressed how surprised he was when he saw the number of cryptocurrency donations they received compared to traditional donations. Even now, after the month of Ramadan has ended, the mosque continues to receive cryptocurrency donations from its adherents. There are two kinds of charitable donations within Islam, one is the voluntary donation of Sadaqah, the other is the obligatory donation of Zakat. Zakat is 2.5% of a Muslim’s annual income or wealth. Currently, Shacklewell Lane Mosque is still receiving Sadaqah in the form of cryptocurrency.
The man behind the idea
Gurmit Singh founded the blockchain company Combo Innovations and was the man to come up with the idea of mosques accepting cryptocurrency donations. He knew that many Muslims were using cryptocurrency and that there was an untapped market for mosques to benefit from. Not only would the idea of accepting cryptocurrency donations make it easier and more convenient for Muslims to donate, seeing as they would not have to convert their tokens to fiat money first, but it would also open the door for international donations to the mosque. International donors would benefit from the faster and cheaper transactions that cryptocurrency payments offer them, compared to traditional bank transfers. Combo Innovations knew that not many at the mosque were trained in the concept of cryptocurrency, so the company took it upon themselves to set up the way to accept the donations. Singh and his colleagues set up Crypto Zakat and Crypto Sadaqah in collaboration with Zayd al Khair, who is the Islamic advisor to Shacklewell Lane Mosque.