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#Iran developing national #cryptocurrency to bypass US sanctions

Iran has revealed that one of the country’s banks is working on a state-backed virtual currency. Minister of Information and Communications Technology Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi tweeted he had proposed to implement the country’s first cloud-based digital currency. Iran is still mostly cut off from major international payment networks such as Visa and Mastercard and services such as PayPal. The announcement on its crypto project follows Venezuela’s launch of the world’s first national digital currency the 'petro'. According to President Nicolas Maduro, the oil-backed cryptocurrency has raised the equivalent of more than $735 million. After the successful pre-sale of the petro last week, Maduro announced a new virtual token, dubbed 'petro oro', which will be backed by precious metals.

Abu Dhabi Global Market welcomes 3rd Reglab cohort applications with SME focus

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) welcomes applications for the third cohort of its Regulatory Laboratory (Reglab) with special focus on the small-medium enterprise (SME) sector. ADGM therefore encourages all FinTech and RegTech companies, in particular those with a SME focus, to apply and be part of its RegLab. This includes technology startups which offer tools to both institutions and SMEs alike. The application period will close on 10 May 2018.

RegLab allows participants to explore and develop innovative solutions in a risk-appropriate and cost-effective environment. Moreover, participants will have access to a digital sandbox service provided by Temenos that enables them to integrate their solutions with banking data and functionality.

For further details of the ADGM RegLab programme, please visit or contact

Dar Al Arkan meets bond investors for non-deal roadshow

Saudi Arabian real estate developer Dar Al Arkan met fixed income investors last week for a non-deal roadshow. The aim of the meeting was to update investors on the company’s business, so no concrete bond issue plan was discussed. The roadshow was held last week in Dubai and arranged by Emirates NBD. Dar Al Arkan issued $500 million (Dh1.8 billion) of sukuk last April with a profit rate of 6.875% per annum. It also has $450 million of sukuk due in June this year, $400 million of sukuk due in 2019 and a further $500 million of sukuk, those issued last year, maturing in 2022.

F1Cryptos Partner Michael Buchbinder Fields Interview Questions, Following HADACoin Listing Agreement

HADACoin's listing on F1Cryptos is a rational partership as both firms share the same beliefs about blockchain. The listing offers obvious benefits to HADACoin, with opportunity for liquidity and fulfilling external demand expected to have a positive influence on future valuation of the digital asset. F1Cryptos Partner Michael Buchbinder says the plan is to engage the age demographic between 20-30 that really seems to be embracing blockchain and the new possibilities emerging with cryptocurrencies. HADACoin's issuer, Hada DBank aims to integrate blockchain technology with Islamic financial principles. Hada DBank is in the midst of a crowd funding campaign, currently at pre-sale stage. HADACoin tokens are available for purchase at a current promotional price of 1 ETH – 4,000 HADACoin.

QINVEST records solid revenues for 2017

Qatar's QINVEST announced its end of year results for 2017. Revenues from all business lines amounted to QR368.6m ($101.3m), resulting in operating profit of QR177.3m ($48.7m) and net profit of QR65.9m ($18.1m). The group’s global assets stood at QR4.45bn ($1.22bn) as of 31 December 2017. QINVEST has continued to enjoy a strong liquidity position of $120m as of December 2017. The company has also taken the decision to early adopt IFRS9 accounting standard, reducing future volatility from its reported results. The firm launched two income-generating Ijara funds in 2017 and both were oversubscribed. QINVEST will look to launch the third in the series of the Ijarah funds during 2018 to meet market demand.

Counting Milestones From N100bn #Sukuk Roads Investment Fund

In September 2017, the Federal Government of Nigeria raised N105bN to fund the construction of roads in the country. Soon after that, finance minister Mrs. Kemi Adeosun began the disbursement of the fund to commence work on the twenty five key economic roads in the six geo-political zones. The reconstruction of the outstanding sections of Benin to Ofusu to Ore to Ajebandele to Shagamu Expressway had been completed. At the other sites the construction work is on with massive presence of construction machineries and materials.

#Indonesia’s P2P startup Investree to raise Series B round, eyes collaboration with banks

Indonesian P2P firm Investree expects to close a Series B funding round in two to three months to finance the company’s marketing activities and expansion. Investree chairman Adrian Gunadi said that the investment would not only boost the company’s core business but also its new sharia product and online government securities business. The firm is hoping to capitalize on its large lender base, made up predominantly of the country’s millennials aged 21-35. Since its inception in 2016, Investree facilitated Rp 623 billion in loans. From the Rp 623 billion, around Rp 500 billion has been disbursed and Rp 367 billion has been paid back. So there’s around Rp 120 billion in outstanding loans. Investree plans to offer a new asset class on its platform, that of retail online government securities. The initiative will start either in April or May, they are currently waiting for confirmation from the Finance Ministry.

Court orders forensic #audit of Jaiz Bank statement

The Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria has ordered a forensic examination of a Jaiz Bank statement. The order was made sequel to an oral application made by Mr Sebastine T. Hon in a law suit filed against the bank and 11 others. Hon alleged that the statement of the bank was manipulated as the account did not reflect its true status. The judge ordered Jaiz Bank to make available the original or certified copy of the bank statements covering the amount available with the garnishees connecting Zamfara State Government.

Margin #debt is at a record high in #US markets

According to the US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, investors have borrowed a record $642.8 billion against investment portfolios. The leverage from this margin debt is a bid to increase returns, but it leaves investors vulnerable if asset prices decline. There was a market correction in February, but the question remains whether the recent correction was a one-off event. Either way, this is where the Federal Reserve has to be concerned about financial stability. When the credit markets become an integral facet sustaining asset markets, a sustained fall in asset prices can boomerang back onto the financial system.

#Bahrain Islamic Bank partners up with the largest dedicated #FinTech hub in the MENA region

Bahrain Islamic Bank (BISB) has announced its partnership with the Bahrain FinTech Bay (BFB). As the first dedicated FinTech hub and corporate incubator in the Middle East and Africa region, it will be located in the Arcapita building overlooking Bahrain Bay. The venue comprises state-of-the-art facilities, co-working spaces and a variety of other shared infrastructure. BISB CEO Hassan Amin Jarrar said that with the strong support provided by the Government and the Central Bank of Bahrain Bahrain FinTech Bay would further strengthen the Kingdom’s financial position. Bahrain FinTech Bay aims to develop and accelerate financial technology in the region by creating a platform to fuel the growth of the industry.

#Indonesia raises $3bn in Sovereign #Sukuk including $1.25bn Green Sukuk

Indonesia raised $1.25bn as the world’s first sovereign green sukuk. The country's latest sukuk was priced at a yield of 3.75% and has a tenure of 5 years. Non-Sovereign Malaysian organisations have previously issued green sukuk, most recently with two issuances in 2017. Indonesia also raised US$1.75 billion via a 10-year sukuk sold at the same time as the green issuance. The non-green sukuk was sold at a coupon rate of 4.4%. Globally, $155.5 billion of green bonds were sold last year, according to the London-based Climate Bonds Initiative.

Saudi CMA approves Bank AlJazira's proposed rights issue

The Saudi Capital Markets Authority has announced its resolution approving Bank Aljazira’s request to increase its capital by way of rights issue valued at SAR 3,000,000,000. The offering price and the number of shares will be determined after market closing of the same day in which the extraordinary general assembly meeting is held. After reviewing the bank’s application in light of the governing regulatory requirements, the CMA has issued its resolution approving Bank Aljazira’s capital increase request. The CMA’s approval merely means that the legal requirements as per the Capital Market Law and its Implementing Regulations have been met.

#Turkey mulls 'national' bitcoin

Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is proposing to develop a national bitcoin called "Turkcoin". According to MHP deputy chair and former Industry Minister Ahmet Kenan Tanrikulu, missing out on blockchain would be a serious mistake. The politician stressed that cryptocurrencies were already in use in Turkey, despite the lack of a legal framework, so there is a clear need for regulation. Tanrikulu's report also proposes the creation of a state-controlled bitcoin bourse. Though the government maintains its stance toward bitcoin and other digital money, the idea for a national cryptocurrency seems to have better prospects. A Turkish company has already invested in a project to create a local cryptocurrency and is reportedly planning to make the money available soon.

#Iran May Follow #Venezuela In Launching Its Own Cryptocurrency

Iran has announced its intent to establish a national cryptocurrency. Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, head of Iran's Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, posted in a Tweet that a test model for a cloud-based digital currency is being developed. The announcement comes after Venezuela's oil-backed "petro" cryptocurrency launch earlier this week. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro claims that the cryptocurrency has raised over $700 million. There are fears that the rise of state-backed cryptocurrencies could challenge international efforts to regulate financial transactions and impose sanctions. The three countries most interested in the technology, Iran, Venezuela and Russia, are all targeted by U.S. sanctions.

Jaiz #Zakat foundation shares N5m among beneficiaries

A N5 million zakat fund was distributed by the Jaiz Zakat and Waqf Trust Foundation (JZWTF) last weekend in Lagos, Nigeria. The Chairman of the occasion, Professor Lai Olurode, described the zakat distribution by JZWTF as very important because it showcases the practicality of Islam. Olurode, who is also the Chairman of the University of Lagos Muslim Community, remarked that education was a very important key element in poverty eradication. The chairman requested that Jaiz management should recognise the University of Lagos Muslim Community as an institutional beneficiary of zakat fund. He said the community required a minimum of N2.5 million to maintain the mosque every month, excluding stationeries and salaries of workers among other needs.

DIB boosts emirate’s #Sukuk listings to over $53b

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) is celebrating the listing of a $1 billion Sukuk on Nasdaq Dubai. The listing is the first benchmark dollar-denominated sukuk from a GCC issuer in 2018. DIB's Group CEO Dr Adnan Chilwan said the bank's master plan was developed a decade ago and has yielded solid results so far. He added that the strong demand for the credit continues to grow across a diverse global investor base. This issuance is DIB’s sixth sukuk on Nasdaq Dubai, making the bank the largest UAE debt issuer by value on the exchange with a total of $5.25 billion. The total value of all sukuk listed on Dubai’s exchanges has now reached $53.47 billion, the largest amount of any listing centre in the world.

#Indonesia issues world's first #green #sukuk bond - Financial Times

Indonesia, the world's largest exporter of coal, has become the first country in the world to sell a sovereign green sukuk bond. The country has borrowed $1.25bn with the issuance of a five-year sukuk. Luky Alfirman, head of the Budget Financing at Indonesia's Finance Ministry said the proceeds would be used to finance projects such as renewable energy, green tourism and waste management. The government also said it would take up more projects to address climate change mitigation and adaptation, which requires alternative financing. CIMB, Citigroup, Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC , HSBC and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank were bookrunners on the deal.

HADA Coin Announces Listing on F1Cryptos Exchange, Partner Michael Buchbinder Offers Full Interview

Pioneering blockchain-based Islamic bank HADA DBank announced that its Hada coin will be listed on cryptocurrency trading platform F1Cryptos, following their token sale. F1Cryptos will be the first exchange to list the Hada Coin token. According to F1Cryptos partner Michael Buchbinder, HADA DBank's business model brings value and just interaction with the customer. The bank plans on engaging the age demographic between 20-30 that seems to be embracing blockchain and cryptocurrencies. After Discovering HADA DBank it was clear to the F1Cryptos team that the two companies shared the same vision. With F1Cryptos previous history as an FX brokerage, they are experienced to access the potential of HADA DBank. Hada DBank determines to fuse blockchain technology with Islamic Banking Module. The Pre-ICO is currently live, with an ongoing flash sale for the first one million tokens going up for sale at 1ETH = 4,000 HADACoin.

Hada DBank: A Blockchain-Based Islamic Bank

#Malaysia-based HADA Dbank is set to bring Islamic banking principles to the blockchain ecosystem. Hada DBank follows Islamic Financial Laws prohibiting risky ventures, having a maximum Liability to Asset ratio of 1:3. The bank allows users to have access to a full-feature personal banking service. This includes a free encrypted account and e-Wallet, a zero-fee charge on cryptocurrency exchanges and access to the financial advisor robot HUDA. Hada DBank will soon host a token generation event to raise funds for the full development of products and services. The native HADACoin will be a digital asset based on the Ethereum platform. HADACoin will be sold during the pre-sale at an increased rate adjusting to supply, starting at a rate of 1 ETH = 2000 for the first 10 million tokens, gradually reducing every 10 million tokens. Once the Hada DBank platform launches, HADACoin will be trading on the F1Cryptos exchange the first of many exchange platform partnerships in the pipeline.

New Islamic economy products unveiled in Dubai

The International Innovative Platform for Islamic Economy Products (IIPIEP 2018) took place on 21 February in Dubai. The event was organized by Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) in cooperation with International Center of Islamic Economy (ICIE). The first product launched was the 'Exchangeable Sukuk', which has been created to mobilize resources using Sukuk that are tradable and don’t require the utilization of bank assets. The second product announced was the 'Awqaf Fund' which aims to create a new simple sustainable product for anyone who wants to put their money into waqf. The 'Flexible Credit Card' was the third product launched at IIPIEP 2018, which seeks to combine investment with funding. The customer gets balance in credit and at the same time an investment account. Held at Grand Hyatt Dubai, the event was attended by industry experts, innovators and decision-makers. It was supported by Alinma Bank, Islamic Development Bank and Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, sponsored by National Bonds and National Commercial Bank.

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