SYDNEY (Reuters) - Malaysia-based firm HelloGold has received a sharia-compliant certification for its gold-backed cryptocurrency and plans to launch its online gold platform in Thailand later this year, the company said.
Its cryptocurrency product, dubbed GOLDX, was launched at the end of last year and has now received certification from Amanie Advisors, a Malaysia-based Islamic finance consultancy, said chief marketing officer Manuel Ho.
Unlike other cryptocurrencies, GOLDX involves the issuance of a token backed by physical gold stored in a Singapore vault, and transactions must be completed within a defined time period, Ho said.
This means the issuance process and audited assets can address transparency, certainty and immediacy of transactions - important principles in Islamic financial contracts.
The move highlights how fintechs, companies that use new technology to revamp banking services, are extending their influence to Islamic finance markets spanning the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Over the past year, the firm has rolled out a mobile app in Malaysia that is based on blockchain, the system that first emerged to facilitate digital currencies such as bitcoin.
That mobile app, which allows users to buy and sell physical investment grade gold, was also certified by Amanie Advisors.
HelloGold plans to expand its gold platform into Thailand in coming months, while potentially adding a third market by the end of the year, said Ho.
The firm is also exploring other unspecified assets for its blockchain technology, which involves a shared electronic ledger that allows parties to track transaction information through a secure network.
Reporting by Bernardo Vizcaino; Editing by Eric Meijer