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First Waqf Blockchain platform launched in Oman

MUSCAT, JUNE 29 - The Gulf region’s first blockchain-based platform for the crowdfunding of Waqf charities and sharia-based investments was launched in the Sultanate on Wednesday. The launch of the Waqf Blockchain by Singapore-based Finterra, a leading blockchain social solutions provider, took place against the backdrop of the Oman Islamic Fintech Forum (OiFF) 2019. The daylong event, organised by Elmangos — an Istanbul-based global business events producer and consultancy firm, brought industry experts from various fields of expertise — regulators, bankers, entrepreneurs, investors and IT experts to share their experiences and insights in developing a fintech ecosystem for Islamic finance in the Sultanate.

Also present at the launch were: Dr Qais Issa al Yahyai, Executive Vice President — Central Bank of Oman (CBO), Dr Ammar al Obaidani, President of the Blockchain Club and a host of other dignitaries. “For the first time, Finterra is bringing a solution to Islamic finance that automates a lot of the processes that were done manually in the management of waqf,” Hamid Rashid, Founder — Finterra, said at the launch of the Waqf Blockchain platform. According to Rashid, Blockchain technology has many features that “mimic” the principles espoused by Islamic finance and Islamic banking, most notably, transparency and equitable distribution.

“With the blessings of the (authorities in Oman) we were able to reach out to various Islamic (financial institutions here), and in the last one year, we have been able to sign several MoUs, which has been translated into a working paper, which becomes a strategy paper,” he said. Finterra, he said, will be issuing Islamic social and economic tools to account holders based on Value-Based Intermediation (VBI). “With a tool like the VBI based Waqf Blockchain allows for the community to participate in the development of Awqaf through contributions and through funding Awqaf based pools of funds — whether cash or land based. Those funds, when asset managed by Islamic banks, the revenues and profits go in various ratios into charitable causes, into investments, and into social causes,” he said.

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