The Islamic digital currency community has just grown a little bigger as an Indonesian entrepreneur and philanthropist is throwing her hat into the ring to harness the power of blockchain technology to create a Muslim-friendly medium of exchange.
With the vision of providing Muslims with an appropriate financial instrument to fulfil financial obligations as required by the religion, Sofia Koswara, a businesswoman involved in the mining and furniture industries, has forayed into the digital token space as the founder and CEO of Noorcoin.
Announcing itself early March, the Singapore-based entity was supposed to begin its private pre-initial coin offering (ICO) round on the 19th March and had initially planned to utilize the Ethereum blockchain platform using the ECR20 standard. Twenty percent of the 100 billion Noorcoins were to be released to private investors before going public through an ICO scheduled for June. Proceeds from the pre-ICO sale, which would have been conducted using tiered discount prices, were allocated to build the firm’s product development team (60%), marketing efforts (35%) and compensating advisors and project managers (5%). There has been no news on the pre-ICO sale since.
And now, it seems Noorcoin has taken a different direction.
The Noorcoin ecosystem would instead be tested on Zilliqa’s blockchain protocol for on-chain high-throughput transactions. Zilliqa is a new blockchain protocol, headquartered in Singapore, designed to scale securely in an open, permission-less distributed network.
“We’ve decided to build on Zilliqa’s platform since it opens up new options that weren’t possible earlier. We aspire to achieve outstanding quality, and to be a pioneer in setting the best practices in the world for the growing blockchain industry. With Zilliqa we believe that we can achieve that goal,” said Sofia in a statement.
Moving to Zilliqa is a huge jump from Noorcoin’s previous plans which only saw newer generation blockchain technology such as Zilliqa and TON as a potential possibility. According to Chief Technology Officer Iskandar Purnomohadi, on Zilliqa, 2,300 transactions can be completed in a second, while on TON it is one million and Ethereum only 13 per second.
“Blockchain technology is the long-awaited solution for a trustless and accountable platform. However, it is handicapped by the fact that the current platform can only perform maximum of 15 transactions per second. We are looking forward to match our development roadmap with the Zilliqa roadmap, including the testnet release, Scilla smart-contract language, and finally the mainnet launch around the third quarter to ensure a smooth execution of Noorcoin,” said Purnomohadi.
Noorcoin is being advised by career diplomats from Saudi Arabia and Indonesia including Osama Muhammed Abdullah Al-Shuaibi, the ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Indonesia; Ahmad Rusdi, the ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Republic Indonesia and permanent representative to United Nations ESCAP; Budi Saroso, the secretary-general and head of the bilateral committee of Middle East and (OIC) countries of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce & Industry; and Professor Nourah Abdulrahman Yousef, a member of the Saudi Shura Council (Economics and Energy Committee).
Noorcoin was approached for comments but was not ready to respond. Instead, it promised to get back to IFN Fintech with “updates and discussion anytime soonest”.
Noorcoin: Shariah compliant?
Noorcoin claims that the digital token has been certified Shariah compliant on the 13th March by a World Shariah Advisory Committee, headed by a HH Turman of the Husnayain Salulebbo Foundation. IFN cannot confirm the veracity of this certification nor committee/foundation; justification for the Shariah ruling was not found.
In Noorcoin’s white paper as viewed by IFN, it purports that in order to be considered Shariah compliant, a currency must hold intrinsic value, and therefore be backed up by an asset or tied to a commodity of actual value, and can also be shown by the difficulty of attaining it. However, there was no mention in the technical document of Noorcoin being backed by any assets or tied to any commodities. It does, however, note that its Shariah compliance is based on the fact that: the element of interest is not integrated in the issuance of the digital token; the coin’s reward scheme is based on a profit and loss-sharing mechanism; and there is minimal speculation involved.
There are several virtual currencies that have gained Shariah accreditation including gold-backed GOLDX by HelloGold and Biocoin which is tied to land in India. Dubai’s OneGram is a cryptocoin that is backed by physical gold and claims to be Shariah compliant although it has not been issued a Fatwa certifying full compliance of its operations with Shariah.