OneGram, launched in May in Dubai, calls itself the world's first Shariah-compliant cryptocurrency whose value is backed by actual gold reserves. The company started selling a total stock of 12.4mn digital tokens on May 21 that are backed by one gram of gold each, aiming to raise around $500mn in its "Initial Coin Offering" programme. At its sister company GoldGuard, a Dubai-based online gold trading platform, OneGram will store the physical gold – bought through Australian-based ABX (Allocated Bullion Exchange) – in a gold vaults inside the Dubai Airport Free Zone which is currently being built. This would create a completely gold-backed, redeemable digital currency.
OneGram's founder and CEO, Mohammed Ibrahim Khan, says he felt inspired by the now popular cryptocurreny Bitcoin when it was launched eight years ago, but he also felt that Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies were not designed with Islamic markets in mind, although they are considered to have more "intrinsic value" than fiat money created in the conventional finance system that is based upon debt. However, since there hasn't been an Islamic evaluation as to whether Bitcoin is halal or not, its use is subdued in the Arab world.