Malaysian central bank, Bank Negar Malaysia or BNM recently took a bold step into ensuring better control on digital currencies or cryptocurrencies in the country.
Through Sector 6 of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Policy for Digital Currencies, BNM issued the policy document based on the feedback it received late in 2017. This was done with members of the public which produced the exposure draft before it became policy. Among those that gave their feedback include:
- Interested individuals in digital currencies and cryptocurrencies
- Law and legal firms
- Digital currency exchangers
- Industry Associations
- Financial Institutions
Measures in place
With this policy in place, more effective measures are now possible to ensure that money laundering and terrorism financing risks through digital currencies can be better controlled. This can help to increase transparency as well. The major concern was on the obligations that must be imposed on digital currency exchangers as they are crucial to this money market. Besides that, those offering intermediary services in the cryptocurrency market were given emphasis as well.
Not an endorsement
Having done that, BNM has stated that although it has invoked the reporting obligation for those involved, it does not mean BNM is endorsing this industry as yet. In fact, BNM is not in any way connote, in terms of the provision of digital currency exchange services in the areas of:
Crypto is Not a legal tender in Malaysia
BNM has reminded the public that Malaysia does not recognize digital currencies as legal tender. At least not yet. As such, the public should evaluate the risks that are associated with digital currencies before they decide to proceed. This is because cryptocurrencies do not follow the market conduct standards and arrangements that BNM regulates. The policy provides all the information that anyone would need pertaining to digital currencies. Hence, anyone who is (or planning to) carry out such activities in these platforms should refer to the policy for any clarification.
Payment for goods and services
However, it must be noted that several businesses across Malaysia have started accepting Bitcoin for purchase and payment for goods and services. This is one situation which is expected to grow in the near future. The most significant business owner is one that sells Nasi Kerabu in Kelantan while a noodle seller in Kuala Lumpur has reportedly advertised that he accepts Bitcoin from its customers as well. In doing so, it opens up the market to a lot of others that might follow suit. It won’t be long before members of the public can start buying newspapers and even pay for coffee using Bitcoin.
Unauthorized cryptocurrencies in Malaysia
In the move to try and impose more controls and to protect the public, BNM has been actively monitoring many digital exchanges and cryptocurrencies and compiled a list. Among those that have been added to the list of unauthorized cryptocurrencies in Malaysia include Kazuki Coin. Besides that, more than 400 companies have already made it to the list. Among them include:
- Bitclub Network
- Coin Enterprise Ltd (Livecoin.net)
- CryptoDaily Investment Packages
- Ethtrade Limited
- Ethtrade Malaysia
- Kembara Jutawan Crypto
- Live Coin Express
It is all not doom and gloom though. BNM has offered a list that consists of legitimate ones. They are considered to have been registered with Fintech Malaysia and as such, are ‘safe’. They include (although not limited to):
- XBit Asia
- and MX Exchange.