Egypt’s Grand Mufti weighed in on the phenomenon of cryptocurrency, saying that trading in Bitcoin is unlawful in accordance with Islamic Sharia law.
The Grand Mufti, Shawki Allam, issued an official fatwa on the subject on Monday, reported the Al-Ahram newspaper.
In it, he wrote said that trading such a "virtual currency" was not permissible as it is not considered by legitimate bodies an "acceptable interface of exchange."
Highlighting that Bitcoin is not subject to the state's supervising and financial authorities, Allam said his fatwa was issued following consultations with several economy experts.
He stressed that both the "currency’s risk as well as its high profit potential undermines Egypt's ability to maintain and stabilize its own currency."
Allam said that Bitcoin can have a "negative effect on its dealers' legal safety, possibly due to failure to publicly disclose such operations," which he said would lead to an "ease in money laundering and contrabands trade."
Bitcoin is believed to be the first of hundreds of digital currencies introduced to the internet sphere, as well as being the most valuable and most widespread globally.
In 2017, trading of Bitcoin and digital currencies boomed worldwide. On Monday, one Bitcoin was valued at over $13,000.
Last month, however, Egypt’s Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) said that enticing investors into dealing with cryptocurrencies is considered a "form of deception that falls under legal liability," according to Al-Ahram.