London mosque accepts bitcoin during holy month

A man works on a laptop beneath the Bitcoin logo. (Reuters)
Updated 28 May 2018
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London mosque accepts bitcoin during holy month

  • East London mosque accepts cryptocurrencies
  • On track to double donations in a year

Looking for a new way to give money to charity as part of Ramadan? A mosque in Britain’s capital is willing to receive your donation — in bitcoin.

The Shacklewell Lane Mosque in Dalston, east London, has decided to accept bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in a bid to widen its donor base and cut down on currency conversion fees, mosque leaders said.

“For a donor that already has a bitcoin or an ethereum account, the effort of converting cryptocurrency into say British pounds or dollars can be quite burdensome. The mosque effectively takes the burden on themselves,” said blockchain consultant Lukasz Musial, who helped the mosque set up the technology.

“For the donor, it’s just the click of a button to transfer to an account provided by the charity. From the mosque’s perspective, it opens a new stream of donations coming from all over the world,” Musial said.

Egypt’s Grand Mufti, the nation’s top Sunni Muslim official, said this year bitcoin was not permitted according to Islamic law, Egyptian media reported, but Shacklewell imam Abdalla Adeyemi defended the mosque’s decision.

“Bitcoin is like any other currency. It’s ... accepted by a group of people ... We ourselves are not trading. We are not involved ... we are a charity,” Adeyemi told Reuters.
The mosque says it is one of a handful to accept cryptocurrencies out of hundreds in London and its move is yielding results. It said it is on track to double its donations this year to more than £10,000 ($13,300).

Muslims with the means are religiously obliged to give alms, often calculated based on Islamic texts as being 2.5 percent of their wealth, and many do so during the holy month, a time when Muslim charities are most active.


China-US trade talks ‘making a final sprint’ — state media

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping as U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, left, and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, right, look on before proceeding to their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China February 15, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 16 February 2019
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China-US trade talks ‘making a final sprint’ — state media

  • US duties on $200 billion in imports from China are set to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent if there is no deal by March 1 to address US demands

SHANGHAI: Chinese state media on Saturday expressed cautious optimism over trade talks between the United States and China, a day after President Xi Jinping said a week of discussions had produced “step-by-step” progress.
Xi made the comments at a meeting on Friday with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Beijing, after a week of senior- and deputy-level talks.
The People’s Daily, the official paper of the ruling Communist Party, said in a commentary that Xi’s meeting with US negotiators had affirmed progress made in previous talks and “injected new impetus into the next stage of the development of Sino-US trade relations.”
The talks “have made important progress” for the next round of negotiations in Washington next week, the paper said in its domestic edition.
“It is hoped that the two sides will maintain the good momentum of the current consultations and strive to reach an agreement within the set time limit,” it said.
US duties on $200 billion in imports from China are set to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent if there is no deal by March 1 to address US demands that China curb forced technology transfers and better enforce intellectual property rights.
In its overseas edition, the People’s Daily said “zero-sum thinking and games where you lose and I win can only create losses for both. Only on a basis of mutual respect and equal treatment, through dialogue and consultation, can we find a solution acceptable to both sides.”
An English-language editorial in the Global Times, which is published by the People’s Daily, said news that China had consulted on the text of a memorandum of understanding “shows the two sides have made unprecedented progress.”
“The MOU and next week’s talks both show that the seemingly endless China-US trade negotiations, like a marathon, are making a final sprint,” it said.
The newspapers cautioned that any agreement would have to be in the interests of both the United States and China.
“There are still obstacles to be overcome, and no one should underestimate how daunting a task the two sides face trying to resolve all the differences that have long existed between them in one clean sweep,” the official English-language China Daily said in an editorial.