My Halal Ratings for Polkadot, Dogecoin, Shiba Inu, Binance USD and TerraUSD
I recently reviewed the top 10 cryptocurrencies by Market Cap(see 1 -5, 6-10) and revealed my comfort level investing in them from a halal perspective.
You can see the full list of all cryptocurrencies reviewed by Practical Islamic Finance here.
In this article, I review the next 5 cryptocurrencies by market cap from a halal perspective and they are Polkadot (DOT), Dogecoin (DOGE), Binance USD (BUSD), TerraUSD (UST), Shiba Inu (SHIB).
While generally halal, I think a cryptocurrency can be haram if it is primarily used for haram purposes.
Therefore I will be checking the utilities of these cryptocurrencies to determine my comfort level investing in them from a Halal perspective.
On this topic, When giving my halal ratings for cryptos and assets in general I don’t like to use the terms “Halal” and “Haram” in light of the tremendous responsibility entailed when using these words.
Instead, I use the terms: Comfortable, and Uncomfortable to represent my ratings and as a reminder to the listener that this is ultimately a judgment call that I am making which could be wrong so be sure to do your own due diligence.
I should also mention that just because I think something is Comfortable to invest in from a halal perspective doesn’t mean I think it’s a good investment from a financial perspective. For those types of insights, consider becoming a PIF member.
What are my Ratings for Polkadot, Dogecoin, Shiba Inu, Binance USD and TerraUSD?
1. Polkadot DOT
You may have heard of Layer 1 blockchain solutions like Ethereum, Avalanche, and Solana which are platforms upon which decentralized applications can be built.
The issue with these blockchains is that they tend to optimize for some use cases at the expense of others. As a result, different applications will prefer different blockchains to serve as their platform.
The problem arises when different applications built on different layer 1 solutions want to communicate with one another.
For instance, what if a decentralized application on Ethereum wants to communicate with one on Solana?
What’s the solution?
Polkadot allows projects to build blockchains specific to that projects’ needs and then communicate with other applications built on other custom blockchains.
That’s why Polkadot is considered a layer 0 solution because it underlies layer 1 solutions and connects them.
Polkadot’s native DOT token serves three purposes: staking, governance, and voting on which projects are supported.
Some may be wondering if the voting process involves an interest-bearing loan (riba). This is referred to as para chain bonding. I don’t see this as Riba since there is no true loan to start with.
A true loan involves a lender and a borrower who can spend the borrowed money. In the case of voting in Polkadot, when you use your dot tokens to vote, no one can spend your tokens. They are simply locked in the protocol for some time. So because there is an absence of a loan, Riba is not a suspect. It’s not gambling either since it is not a zero-sum, at the end of the lock-up period you will get your tokens back which may be worth more or less than what they were when you locked them up so there is an element of risk here.
I find nothing inherently objectionable in Polkadot’s utility or the utility of its token (DOT).
Is Polkadot Halal?
I’m comfortable investing in Polkadot from a Halal perspective.
2. Dogecoin (DOGE)
Dogecoin is perhaps the simplest token to understand. It has no inherent functionality other than it has a price on the open market and it can be traded.
For example, and this is 100% true, I recently paid a developer in Indonesia using Dogecoin.
Transfer fees from my Dogecoin wallet to his were minimal and the transfer itself happened instantly.
While many people tend to frown on Dogecoin as a serious investment because it started as a joke, the origin of this coin is hardly a determinant for what it ends up becoming.
Many things start as a joke and end up winning.
From a Halal perspective, I will agree that the vast majority of Dogecoin’s value comes from people speculating about the future and hoping it becomes something with more substance.
However, speculating about the future, contrary to popular belief, is in no way haram. Speculating is a necessary component of economic activity.
Valuing a company for instance is simply the exercise of discounting future cash flows to the present day. The word “future” in future cash flows should tell you that there is a good deal of speculation in this activity as well.
What is haram, is gambling, which happens in zero-sum games where there is no good or service.
In the case of Dogecoin, speculation or not, there is a good involved and they are the actual Dogecoin tokens.
I find nothing inherently objectionable about Dogecoin or its utility.
Is Dogecoin Halal?
I’m comfortable investing in Dogecoin from a Halal perspective.
3. Binance USD (BUSD)
Binance USD is a 1:1 US Dollar-backed stable coin issued by Binance.
This token can always be purchased and redeemed at the rate of 1 BUSD for 1 US dollar.
Stablecoins like BUSD are useful in exchanges, transfers, and savings.
I find nothing inherently haram about BUSD.
Is Binance USD Halal?
I am comfortable investing in BUSD from a halal perspective.
4. TerraUSD (UST)
TerraUSD (UST) is the algorithmic stablecoin of the Terra blockchain.
“Algorithmic stablecoins” are called this because instead of being backed 1:1 by some other asset, they rely on an algorithm to keep their price stable.
The algorithm increases the supply of this stable coin when demand is high and decreases it when demand is low.
Algorithmic stablecoins should only be trusted to the extent that you trust the algorithms behind them.
For me, I don’t trust any of these algorithms.
Therefore, I would never keep any type of savings in an algorithmic stablecoin.
When the algorithm breaks for whatever reason, you don’t want your savings to be around to witness it.
I can’t point to anything that would make Terra USD inherently haram.
I know that demand for this stablecoin is primarily driven by people who are depositing it in Anchor protocol and earning interest. However, this stablecoin doesn’t increase in price so you’re not profiting from that and more importantly, the drivers of demand for this coin will likely change. The potential uses of stablecoins are as numerous as those for traditional coins.
As the coin matures, you’ll likely see increased diversity in the use cases of this coin, that is, if it manages to survive.
Is TerraUSD Halal?
I’m comfortable investing in Terra USD from a Halal perspective but I would not trust this stablecoin for anything other than a quick exchange or transfer.
5. Shiba Inu
Shiba Inu is similar to Dogecoin with the addition of smart contract compatibility.
Although a bridge for Dogecoin to smart contracts is being worked on.
I will grant that the practical use cases of Shiba Inu are few and far between and that its billions of dollars worth of market cap is basically driven by pure speculation and not much more.
However, as we said in our review of Dogecoin, speculation is not haram in Islam. It is indeed a necessary component of all investment activity.
What is prohibited in Islam is gambling. Wherein there is trade, rather, there is only a zero-sum game.
If you buy Shiba Inu you are trading something in exchange for Shiba Inu tokens.
Accordingly, I find nothing inherently haram about Shiba Inu.
Is Shiba Inu Halal?
I’m comfortable investing in Shiba Inu from a halal perspective.
This is not to say I think it’s a good investment or one you should make. This applies to all the cryptocurrencies I’ve reviewed. I’m simply saying from a Halal perspective I don’t see any violations.
I’m simply saying from a Halal perspective I don’t see any violations.
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Disclaimer: Anything you read in this article is an opinion. It is not to be considered personalized financial advice. Make sure you do your due diligence before making any investment decisions.