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15 New Crypto Regulations Enacted in Malaysia but Government Appears Overall Positive

Malaysia

According to a media report, 15 new regulations concerning the crypto sector came into effect in Malaysia on 15 January. After the implementation of these new regulations, the country’s crypto sector may have to go through tough legalization processes. However, strict regulations are expected to attract more investors as it will lead to improved security.

As reported by the media, from now on, cryptocurrencies, tokens and crypto assets will be classified as securities. These securities will be under the jurisdiction of the Malaysian Securities Commission.

The new regulations state that a 10-year jail sentence and fines (up to USD 2.4 million) will be imposed on any unauthorized cryptocurrency exchanges or initial coin offering. Although some people are calling it a very harsh act, others seem to be satisfied as it will bring more transparency.

It may seem like the Malaysian government has taken a hard line regarding the crypto sector but the media reports claim that there are positive sentiments in the government regarding cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

Lim Guan Eng, Finance Minister, expressed his views saying that the government is well aware of the potential of the crypto sector and is looking to take advantage of it in order to improve the economic condition. He added that the government believes innovation can be brought into both old and new industries by utilizing blockchain technology. Digital assets can become an alternative asset for investors as well as for entrepreneurs and new businesses.

In the previous weeks, there were ambiguities regarding the Malaysian government’s stance on cryptocurrencies. However, the finance minister’s recent address has cleared the situation.

It is important to note that the Malaysian government has a high level of awareness regarding the crypto sector. Previously, the central bank decided to set up a cryptocurrency unit along with a fintech sandbox. Apparently, the recent regulations are aimed at bringing more transparency to the sector in order to increase the trust level of investors. The move will likely turn out to be a beneficial one for the crypto sector.

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Malaysian Crypto Issuers Must Get Central Bank Approval

Any party that intends to issue cryptocurrency in Malaysia should get approval from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the Asian country’s central bank. This stance of the Malaysian Finance Minister, Lim Guan Eng, was reported by New Straits Times, a local English language news platform.

The Finance Minister said so when a Malaysian Parliament member, Dr Tan Yee Kew posed a question on the methods being used to ensure the protection of the local currency and the financial system as a whole from the effects of cryptocurrencies.

There is also a project that is looking into launching a Malaysian centrally banked cryptocurrency, called the Harapan Coin. The Harapan Coin is yet to be shown to the central bank or the Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The coin has received mix responses, with one Parliament member suggesting that the government should implement proper cryptocurrency-related regulations before venturing into the space itself.

Dr Tan was of the opinion that cryptocurrencies should not be opposed, but these should be working under a decided frame of laws and regulations to ensure no adverse effect on the financial system of the nation”

I advise all parties wishing to introduce Bitcoin (like) cryptocurrency to refer first to Bank Negara Malaysia as it is the authority that will issue the decision on financial mechanism. It is not that we wish to obstruct [cryptocurrency] as we are keeping an open mind. But it is still subject to existing laws. Do not try to do something without guidelines from Bank Negara and commit something against the law.”

Although the government is taking the crypto revolution slowly to ensure no hasty decisions are made, it has come under fire for Harapan Coin, with many civic and political leaders criticizing the digital currency. One such group, the Centre for a Better Tomorrow (Cenbet), said that the government seems too eager to start off “trendy but untested schemes”.

 

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Malaysia Education Ministry to Develop Blockchain-based Degree Verification System

Malaysia’s education ministry (MoE) has announced that it is developing a blockchain-based degree verification system to combat degree fraud according to a recent tweet.

The official social media communication stated that the system is being developed in collaboration with a university consortium. The system is designed to be able to test and verify the authenticity of university degrees in the country and will include six public sector universities in the first phase.

The system is being built on the NEM blockchain, under the leadership of a professor from International Islamic University Malaysia.

The reason behind the pursuit of the new blockchain degree verification system is not just for the preservation of integrity and reputation of Malaysian universities but also to protect the rights of the students and promote the overall use and universal application of the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).

The program will serve as skills training for students trying to enter the blockchain sector and the consortium will also receive backings to develop industry-standard blockchain solutions that could help generate useful revenue for the participating universities through patented technology.

The move comes after various other universities have announced the development of similar blockchain-based degree verification platforms. The top engineering institute in the world, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) became the first university in the world to implement a degree issuing system that is based on blockchain back in October 2017.

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