Malaysia’s Central Bank has Last Word on Cryptocurrency Approval
When it comes to introducing new digital currencies into the market, Malaysia has made it clear that the country’s central bank will have the final say. Lim Guang Eng, the Malaysian Finance Minister, announced that the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the country’s central bank, “will have to be consulted” for all projects involving cryptocurrency as they have the final decision.
A Malaysian news outlet, The Star, quoted Lim as saying: “This is where I wish to advise all parties no matter who they are, intending to issue Bitcoins or cryptocurrency, that they must refer to Bank Negara, which is the authority that will have the final say on this new form of currency.”
Lim, who was fielding questions from his country’s parliament, also noted that even though the Malaysian government was not against any form if new currency, existing laws still had to be followed. He added, “Don’t do it without Bank Negara’s guidelines or directive on the matter to avoid doing something wrong and against the law.”
The Harapan Coin Issue
This new development is coming amidst intense debates that are raging over the Harapan Coin, which has been dubbed as “the first political fundraising platform in the world to use blockchain technology.” In the course of the parliamentary debate held on Monday, a parliament member noted that hundreds of US dollars have been generated by the Harapan Coin in spite of the fact that it was not approved by the BNM.
For those who are not aware of the Harapan Coin project, it is a hotbed issue in Malaysia that has politicians who are either strongly for or against it. The project was launched by the country’s Federal Territories Minister, Khalid Samad, as a means of generating funds in next year’s election for Pakatan Harapan, the ruling political party.
During the launch of the Harapan Coin, Samad stated that a proposal was currently being drafted and it would be presented to the Bank Negara afterward for approval. In mid-November, Samad still pushed for the continuance of the project because, according to him, “digital currencies were the wave of the future.”
Speaking further on the project, Free Malaysia Today reported Samad as saying: “The founder of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, has also said it (blockchain) is the future in terms of technology … When we manage and use it well, there would be value to it. People would buy (the Harapan Coin) and the value would go up when it is used for government matters and other purposes.”
Critics of the virtual currency, which includes Najib Razak, the former Malaysian Prime Minister, called for more transparency in the project to prevent investors from being ripped off.
Malaysia has announced that the final say concerning the introduction of cryptocurrencies into the country solely resides with the country’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia. According to the country’s finance minister, the central bank has to be consulted for the approval of all cryptocurrency projects.
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