With eyes on capturing a bigger slice of the burgeoning Islamic finance industry, the Islamic Sultanate of Brunei — where Islamic banking assets command the lion’s share of the banking system — is laying the blocks to build a Shariah compliant digital finance and economic zone to catalyze economic growth through fintech initiatives.
This is spearheaded by a public–private partnership between IHTHS Corporation and Kuala Lumpur-headquartered business incubator Greenpro Capital and approved by the Brunei Darussalam BIMP EAGA Business Council, the private arm of BIMB-EAGA. BIMB-EAGA is the Brunei Darussalam–Indonesia–Malaysia–Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area, an initiative established in 1994 to spur development in remote areas in the four participating nations.
Greenpro Capital is assuming the role of chief architect in the design, development and operation of the Islamic digital finance center. Its affiliate, First Bullion Holdings, has been confirmed as the project’s exclusive technology provider. First Bullion will also advise on the engineering, operations and compliance framework, listing rules, accreditation model and related technical considerations and requirements.
The new economic zone will serve as a Shariah compliant digital ecosystem facilitating the opening of new digital banking accounts and registration of companies under new rules and the setting-up of new digital assets listing and trading rules, and digital asset exchanges to enable companies to raise capital and conduct secondary trading using blockchain technology.
It is understood that the new economic zone will also provide a new reciprocal recognition arrangement to unite BIMP-EAGA members and to expand the partnership to other ASEAN countries through the Digital Assets Broker Dealers and Agents Affiliation Program. Several Shariah compliant projects and businesses have been identified to become the pilot security token offering cases for the new digital asset exchange. These businesses hail from industries such as textile, pyrolusite water technology, agritech as well as logistics and supply chain.