Blockchain Solution for Social Impact in the Islamic World

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In this candid interview, Hamid Rashid, Founder & CEO of Finterra talks to Arabian Gazette on how Blockchain technology can be leveraged as the standard for social crowdfunding, for the development of Endowment (Waqf), e-commerce and money services.

Hamid, a hands-on Strategic Visionary brings his wealth of experience and knowledge from Hewlett Packard, Petronas, and U&Me.

With over fifteen years of professional experience, Consulting in Enterprise Software Business Management and Business Development experience in the B2B and B2C industry sectors, he has been closely involved in the different facets of Enterprise Business Management, specifically– Strategic Business Planning, Strategic Account Business Development, and Partner Ecosystem Management.

Finterra Foundation is an organization that provides a “Social Solution for Blockchain”. Finterra’s Blockchain technology enables real-world solutions that address the needs of global industries.

Finterra’s award winning Blockchain technology is recognized by the United Nations and Global Regulators, as the standard for social crowdfunding for the development of Endowment(Waqf), e-commerce and money services.

Infographic: How Blockchain works

How Blockchain Works Infographic.
How Blockchain Works Infographic. Courtesy-Finterra

Finterra, the company says, is the benchmark for next generation Blockchain technology with real-world applications.

AG: Can you tell the broad objectives of the International Waqf and Blockchain Forum?

Hamid: The overall objective of International Waqf and Blockchain Forum 2018 is to establish clarity and a collective understanding of the potential of blockchain technology for supporting the facilitation and development of waqf on a global scale whilst also promoting new economic alternatives to enhance Muslim unity.

AG: Can you explain how Blockchain helps in Waqf development?

Hamid: Waqf assets are managed by non-profit advisory boards and are intended to create value and social benefits for the public in general. The use of blockchain could address this by tracking each contract electronically across the lifespan of the investment.

The Endowment (Waqf) Chain allows participants to create project proposals to develop and invigorate endowment properties. Others can fund these project proposals by contributing funds. If the project goals are met, the project proposal is accepted, and a certain number of Endowment tokens are created and distributed to the participating funders.

AG: Can you tell us some of the biggest challenges in the development and regulation of Waqf and how to overcome those?

Hamid: Aside from the legalities and compliance with endowments, the biggest issue is actualizing them and generating income. These assets are federally protected meaning they cannot be liquidated but this poses a problem because it makes raising development capital difficult. Financial institutions find loans on these assets too risky and therefore will not capitalize to develop an endowed property. A problem that has been plaguing the World Bank for the last 100 years.

AG: Please share in brief how Finterra’s Blockchain solution helps with Waqf development?

Hamid: Once the endowment chain is fully operational, it’s an impactful process on the Finterra platform for communities, crowd funders and the causes that they serve. Finterra will combine the specialist knowledge of an IVY educated team with their revolutionary blockchain platform to create a social solution in the form of the Endowment Chain. Finterra is trying to change the financial terrain in its approach to crowdfunding and development of waqf.

The Endowment (Waqf) Chain allows participants to create project proposals to develop and invigorate endowment properties. Others can fund these project proposals by contributing funds. If the project goals are met, the project proposal is accepted, and a certain number of Endowment tokens are created and distributed to the participating funders.

AG: What are your thoughts on how Islamic Finance and Economy are catching up with development in the FinTech industry?

Hamid: We are trying to change the financial terrain in its approach to crowdfunding and development of waqf, the use of blockchain could address this by tracking each contract electronically across the lifespan of the investment.

An improvement in these key sectors would provide us the key to that treasure trove which is lying scattered everywhere in the whole of the Muslim world and which could only be unlocked through good governance and economic development.

AG: Finterra had some pilot Blockchain projects running with endowments in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Can you provide an update on those projects?

Hamid: The use of blockchain could address this by tracking each contract electronically across the lifespan of the investment. A potential waqf project being currently studied involves the redevelopment of a school in Jakarta, Indonesia, into a commercially-viable property,

How do you see Dubai’s role in Blockchain and Waqf development?

Hamid: Finterra’s plans reflects the interest that a number of fintech companies have in broadening their footprint to include core Islamic finance markets in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Dubai is a budding sphere of opportunity that encompasses the fast-growing Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) markets, which are undergoing substantial demographic shifts and have younger, more technologically savvy populations. The pace of fintech innovation in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has been extremely quick over the past few years but still requires more work on the ground to truly revolutionise major industries.

Given the rise in blockchain demand all over the middle east, Finterra aims to showcase new opportunities and possibilities available using blockchain technology to facilitate in the development and sustainability of Waqf.

AG: Apart from Blockchain technology, what other innovations and developments in Fintech are of your interest?

Hamid: Increased regulation.

The fintech industry is evolving so quickly that regulators are struggling to keep up with it, but that’s not for lack of trying. But like taxes and death, regulation is inevitable and we’re likely to see larger institutions and governing bodies placing increased emphasis on the regulation of both software and hardware.

Let’s face it, the financial industry is a high-profile industry that demands the utmost security. This is people’s money we’re talking about.

Still, the increased regulation doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, deployed correctly, regulation will make the industry stronger and more secure, increasing consumer confidence. And if consumer confidence is high, we can expect to see a corresponding surge in uptake and innovation in the fintech industry. The demand will drive the supply.

(Hamid Rashid will be speaking at the International Waqf and Blockchain Forum  happening on May 7, 2018 at the Shangri La Hotel, DIFC.)

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