Crypto Official conducted an AMA – on the origins of Amanah DeFi
Interview between Crypto Official and Amanah DeFi founders, Ilya Dobrovitski and Mohammed Naquib.
Recently, we had a chance to sit down with the Amanah DeFi founders: Ilya Dobrovitsky, Mohammed Naquib, and Mufti Billal Omarjee. We talked about the origins of this unique product, its offerings, and the vision behind it. Here is our interview.
CO: Hey Ilya, great to talk with you. Can you let us know a little bit about your background and experiences?
ID: I have been in the startup space for 5 years mostly promoting startups in the high tech sector. I was a CDO of a digital agency that worked with blockchain startups before going into business with my partners. I am the founder and CEO of BTCD Ltd in the UK, which is a startup advisory. I am also the founder of another DeFi project called Spherium Finance. This project I am no longer a part of. Lastly I am the founder of Amanah DeFi. As per my experience, I worked, as a Business Development professional with some of the more famous firms such as: Tesla, Amazon, Siemens, etc.
CO: That’s really great! Mohammed, would you like to tell us about yourself as well?
MN: Hello Everyone, my name is Mohammed Naquib, and I am based in Saudi Arabia. My entire career is based in technology, and I have been involved in the Crypto sphere for a couple of years. I came up with the idea of a Shariah compliant DeFi solution, to address the gap that the Islamic world has, and supported by Ilya, I contacted Mufti Billal, who is an Islamic Theologian and Islamic finance Expert to help build up the foundation of a Shariah-compliant solution in DeFi.
CO: We also have Mr Mufti Bilal Omarjee here, who is a part of Shariah Board of Amanah.
MBO:I am a graduate in Islamic theology from Darul Uloom Bury in the UK. I studied in the Mufti course in Darul Uloom Blackburn in the UK too. I have a degree in Banking and Law from London Metropolitan University. I worked as Imam previously and was consultant for National Zakat Foundation where I worked with Mufti Faraz Adam. I was also a research assistant for Al Qalam shariah panel based in the UK.
CO: That’s really great guys. Now, for the main thing- how would you introduce Amanah to us?
ID:Amanah DeFi’s goal is to bring Shariah-compliant solutions to the DeFi ecosystem and provide a reliable and transparent system for the Muslim World to help them benefit from this emerging financial evolution. Apart from this, we also propose financial solutions to non-Islamic societies by focusing on society’s financial health as a whole and working around aggressive derivatives and volatile high-interest rate loans. These solutions include offering more stable, less volatile, and healthier products to benefit non-Islamic societies. We aim to create alternative revenue methods stemming from the Islamic financial thought.
MN: We are currently in BUILD stage, and aim to be in the market by May 2021.
CO: What would you say are 3 milestones you and your team have achieved as of now?
ID: 1. We have infused a DeFi concept with Shariah thought
2. We have created an outstanding Shariah Compliance Board of very well known Shariah experts from all over the world (UK, Dubai, et)
3. We have put together an amazing business and technical team that is working for a single purpose – to give the Islamic community a chance to be included in the amazing DeFi revolution happening right now, and through this, to also connect this community to the rest of the world.
At the same time what we are doing will also introduce the non Islamic community to the Shariah ways of thinking in the most positive light.
CO: What would be the long term goal of Amanah?
MBO: In the long term, DeFi can be a gateway to provide solutions to microfinance in poorer Muslim regions and to also facilitate other projects such as Zakat and Waqf. The success of Amanah can be a stepping stone for the success of the economics Muslims globally inshAllah.
CO: Can you guarantee our investment is secured and yielding with Amanah DeFi?
ID: While it’s impossible for any legitimate financial organization to ‘guarantee success’ I will say that because we have the Shariah Compliance Board as part of our organization, we have an added layer of quality control for all products that we take to market. I would say that because we are starting within the Islamic Finance way of thinking, our bottom line, in terms of the quality of the product we are going to offer to our investors, is already at a higher level from an ethical and quality point of view.
CO: What is Amanah DeFi doing to catch up with the current DeFi trend? In the next year, what position do you think AmanahDefi will be on the DeFi world map?
ID: In doing business market analysis for any project the point is to find the most obvious trend for success within a specific sector. We have done a very thorough examination of the DeFi sector from the business side, and have found that the most obvious trend is that all of the most successful startups in DeFi come out of the gates with a calling card product that is usually so innovative that no other company offers the exact same product. This is related to Amanah DeFi in the way that right now we are the only market ready Shariah-compliant DeFi solution which will hit the market. Not only were we created with the participation of a Mufti, but we are also the only product with a Board of Islamic Scholars.
However, we are not really stopping there. From this base, we are creating a very unique technical product.
CO: Many Muslims consider cryptocurrency to have the potential for money laundering and fraud, and that is against Sharia principles. How can you prevent these crimes from happening on Amanah DeFi?
ID: I feel that the crypto community gets an unfair reputation for money laundering. If you google money laundering in the central financial system, no amount of money laundering within the crypto sector can match the sheer volume of money laundering happening within the banking system.
In fact, I would make the argument that because the crypto and DeFi space requires a person to really have a strong grasp of technology and certain intellectual concepts, that money laundering is actually harder to do within our sector rather than with the banking system
MN: This question is not exclusive to Muslims, but to a general public at large. The way to handle this is to raise awareness and educate the masses. But as part of the Amanah DeFi offering, we will be having proper AML/KYC standards in place to take care of the regulatory aspects
ID: We are very lucky in terms of our AML and KYC strategy as Naquib is a crypto AML and forensics-certified expert.
CO: What features would be provided by Amanah?
ID: I would say briefly, we are working on a Shariah-compliant liquidity pool, staking (proof of stake), and a coin which will have real value and be a real Islamic asset. Right now we are still in BUILD stage. Because we are working with a sector that has virtually no precedent within the DeFi space, we are rigorously validating our concept to make sure we come out with a quality product.
CO: By the way, Amanah- Interesting name. How did you choose that name?
ID: Amanah is an ancient Middle Eastern word that means Trust (in the normal and financial sense). The direct descendants of this word are Amen (Latin), Ameen (Arabic) which also means free will. We love the fact that this word unifies multiple cultures in something as positive as Trust.
CO: What is the advantage of Amanah coin, and why should people switch from other coins to Amanah?
MBO: The key difference will be in its structure. We will be a platform who will be operating within Shariah parameters. Secondly, we will ensure to list tokens that are ethically sound.
CO: Would all countries be able to use Amanah’s features?
MN: The reason for bringing financial services to the blockchain is to make them borderless. so that a person sitting in Antarctica can utilize the banking services being offered by someone in Madagascar. So there are no restrictions.
ID: We already have conversations with two exchanges in Russia and Lithuania to list our token. As we come closer to launch we plan to list on at least one major exchange. We also plan to develop a Shariah-compliant Swap in our platform.
CO: What would you say was the core aspect of creating Amanah?
MN: Amanah DeFi was born to bring crypto services for the Muslim community. Muslims like me do not have the benefits of DeFi because I was unsure if it conforms to my faith system. With offerings like Amanah, that is actually being built under the governance of Shariah experts, I feel safe and confident to reap the benefits from this ecosystem.
CO: That would actually be all, thank you guys. We wish Amanah DeFi the very best, and are excited to see what the future holds for them. Do follow them on their social handles, to be in the loop for future updates!