Despite a booming crypto industry, the East Java branch of the Indonesian Islamic organisation Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) has declared cryptocurrency ‘haram’, or forbidden under Islamic law.
The decision was reached through a ‘bahtsul masail’ which means a discussion in Javanese where members of the NU, as well as representatives of Islamic boarding schools, were involved in the deliberation.
The issue of fraud as well as the volatility of cryptocurrency means it can’t be classed as a legitimate investment which has led the group to forbid cryptocurrency.
Some Muslim academics deem crypto similar to gambling, an activity that is forbidden under religious law.
Kiai Azizi Chasbullah, chairman of the East Java Nahdlatul Ulama branch, was quoted in a statement published on their website.
“The participants of the bahtsul masail have the view that although the government recognises cryptocurrency as a commodity, it cannot be legalised under Islamic sharia law,” he said.
Indonesia possess the largest Muslim population in the world and despite the views of this particular Islamic organisation, cryptocurrency is only gaining traction in Indonesia.
Indonesia’s crypto rise
According to a global study by Coinformant, Indonesia reigns supreme as the world’s crypto hotspot of 2021.
Indonesia’s interest in cryptocurrencies had accelerated the fastest across the board as it had the second-highest increase of Google searches for crypto-related terms in the last 12 months.
It also had the highest increase in engagement with articles about crypto, suggesting how more people than ever are interested and talking about crypto in Indonesia.
It had an estimated 7.3m crypto owners and falls in the middle of countries analysed concerning the percentage of the population owning crypto, showing there’s plenty more scope for growth.