November 24, 2017
By Joshua Althauser - November 24, 2017 (cointelegraph.com)
The Malaysian central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), is expected to issue a directive to regulate the use of digital currencies in the country in early 2018. The central bank has been discussing and working on a proposed cryptocurrency regulation for some time now and this new development is expected to be hailed by industry players.
According to BNM Governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim, the introduction of regulations for virtual currencies are intended to prevent abusing the system for criminal and illegal activities and to maintain the stability and integrity of the financial system.
“The advent of digital currencies as some have forecast will mark the beginning of a new era in the financial sector. As authorities, we cannot be oblivious to these developments….The banking sector needs to adopt the latest and most advanced technologies to improve its risk management framework.”
Under the regulations, individuals who convert their virtual currencies into fiat currencies will be considered as reporting institutions and will be subjected to Malaysia’s Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act of 2001. This means that cryptocurrency transactions will be subjected to laws similar to those imposed on banks.
However, the implementation of regulations as a guide for digital currencies would not automatically mean that the virtual tokens are already accepted as legal tender in the country. It is just seen as an indication that the central bank is keeping an open mind on the new wave of innovative technologies being introduced in the financial sector.
November 23, 2017
By C. Edward Kelso - November 23, 2017 (news.bitcoin.com)
In order “to prevent the abuse of the system for criminal and unlawful activities and ensuring the stability and integrity of the financial system,” Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim stated 22 November 2017 that those trading in cryptocurrencies will be placed under the country’s existing anti-money laundering laws.
Malaysia Cites Terrorism Fear
Joseph Chin of The Star Online reports, “Bank Negara Malaysia is developing the regulatory structure for digital currencies, and from 2018 persons converting crypto currencies into fiat money currencies will come under anti-money laundering law,” he notes. Such persons “would be designated as reporting institutions under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.”
The central bank’s Governor made his remarks at the Third Counter-Terrorism Financing Summit. It’s a four day conference organized by the bank, partnering with “Australia’s financial intelligence agency, AUSTRAC, and Indonesia’s Pusat Pelaporan dan Analisis Transaksi Keuangan (PPATK),” the website press release read.
The gathering brings “together more than 350 specialists and professionals from 35 countries and international organisations to share their insights on the latest terrorism financing (TF) issues and developments,” they emphasize.
Mr. Ibrahim’s talk was titled, Readying the Financial Sector Amid the Evolving War on Terrorism Financing, saying in part, “regulators must prepare themselves as digital currencies will become the new norm,” The Star Online paraphrased.
“We must harness the vast potential in technological innovations,” the central banker warned, “to reinvent and reinforce our lines of defence.”
Terrorism in Malaysia has a storied and long history, and is beyond the scope of the present article. But it is safe to write terrorism is something the Malaysian government can claim as a concern, regardless of it as pretext in the case of bitcoin.
“We need new tools,” Mr. Ibrahim said. “The adoption of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data technology are tools that would likely be imperative, as suspicious transactions become more complex and harder to detect,” he listed.
The Star Online notes further how the central bank head “said the advent of digital currencies, as some have forecast, will mark the beginning of a new era in the financial sector.”
Remittances Come Under Scrutiny
One undeniable area of bitcoin’s power resides in its ability to essentially be borderless, allowing those who wish to send money back to their home countries a frictionless experience for the most part.
Mr. Ibrahim is reported to have said “Bank Negara was in the midst of finalising the details of a new requirement for the Banking and Money Services Business sector to report remittances in high risk areas.”
“The high risk areas will be determined based on the law enforcement agency’s intelligence on areas that they view may pose higher risks for funding of terrorism activities,” The Star Online summarized.
The central bank hopes to incorporate more shared international intelligence on suspicious transactions.
As always, what exactly constitutes “high risk areas” and “suspicious transactions” is often left vague by government regulators. It appears to be the same in Malaysia.
A resident of Malaysia told news.bitcoin.com, “Laws are more like guidelines in Malaysia, the people just make their own decisions on what they want to follow. Even if crypto was banned people wouldn’t care. Technically [the song] ‘Despacito’ is banned in Malaysia,” he laughed.
Images courtesy of: Pixabay, BNM. Marcel Chuo contributed sourcing for this article.
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November 06, 2017
By Vincent Fong - November 06, 2017 (fintechnews.sg)
Tan Sri Ranjit Singh, Chairman of Securities Commission of Malaysia announced today at the SCxSC Digital Finance Conference 2017 today that the regulator has embarked on a pilot project for distributed ledgers in the unlisted and OTC Market space.
The technology will be deployed to provide more clarity to the OTC and unlisted market space which is largely considered to be opaque due to the lack of information available.
“By using distributed ledger as a technology underpinning the market infrastructure, all transactions and market activities would be recorded and made available to all market participants while maintaining transaction confidentiality” Tan Sri Ranjit Singh added during his opening remark.
The findings from this pilot project will be published as an industry blueprint. This blueprint will elaborate upon the technology architecture, key software functions and development standards which will form the building blocks for interested parties to use blockchain network for unlisted and OTC markets.
This pilot project is done through the aFINity Innovation lab which is an initiative facilitated by the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) to catalyse greater interest towards the development of emerging technology-driven innovations in financial services.
Tan Sri Ranjit Singh also mentioned during the press conference that Securities Commission will be working very closely with Bank Negara Malaysia in developing a framework for blockchain and cryptocurrency which includes regulations and guidelines to facilitate secondary market trading of established cryptocurrency and digital assets. The framework is slated to be released in the next few months.
When reached for comment on ICOs the regulator maintained that they continue to stand by their earlier public warning statement on ICO in September and encourage investors to fully understand the underlying risk of investing in ICOs. He later added that they are still closely monitoring the space and that the Securities Commission is now a part of the International Organization of Securities Commisions ICO Consultation network, where regulators are discussing the latest development in this space.
November 05, 2017
By Joseph Young - November 05, 2017 (www.newsbtc.com)
Highly regarded bitcoin developer and BitGo lead engineer Jameson Lopp created a clone of the global M1 index, a metric used evaluate the money supply of a country, to observe bitcoin’s ranking amongst some of the world’s most widely used and accepted currencies like the US dollar and Japanese yen.
According to Lopp and the clone of the global M1 index he has created, bitcoin is currently ranked 32nd most valuable currency globally, with a market valuation of over $122 billion. The market cap of bitcoin is larger than many of the national currencies like the Singaporean dollar, Malaysian ringgit, Thai Baht, and Brazilian real.
Bitcoin is Voluntary and an Open System, Rapid Adoption Expected
Bitcoin is still at an early stage in development and mainstream adoption. Institutional and retail investors have just started to invest in bitcoin and acknowledge it as a digital currency, a safe haven asset, and a robust store of value.
Unlike other currencies on the M1 index, bitcoin has a unique monetary system which caps its supply at 21 million bitcoins. Since no more than 21 million bitcoins can be ever be created, as long the demand for the currency continues to increase, the price and the market valuation of bitcoin will only increase in the long-term.
As security and bitcoin expert Andreas Antonopoulos explained at a bitcoin conference, bitcoin is better than fiat money and existing monetary systems because it is voluntary and operates on top of an open peer-to-peer (P2P) protocol. It does not enforce regulations and policies through violence and force. Users, investors, traders, and businesses can choose to use bitcoin, fiat currencies, or even other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum’s Ether, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Monero.
“To me, Bitcoin represents the choice to use alternatives where otherwise it would be prohibited to use alternatives. Bitcoin is a global currency and Bitcoin is the de facto currency of the internet today. Bitcoin is is the most successful open borderless currency that has ever existed. It is already a reference of value for many of the people at this conference, it has been my source of income for the last three years, almost exclusively, and it is a foundation of my ability to travel around the world and advocate it. I am already using it as my preferred currency for the vast majority of my expenses. I do that voluntarily,” said Antonopoulos.
Bitcoin’s Long-Term Growth
Many analysts and billionaire investors including Mike Novogratz and Fundstrat’s Wall Street strategist Tom Lee have emphasized that bitcoin will likely penetrate the multi-trillion dollar gold market in the long run, rather than competing with fiat currencies and alternative monetary systems.
But, as bitcoin scales like any other technology, there exists no reason for bitcoin to exist and operate as both a currency and a robust store of value like gold.
Joseph is a web developer and designer, writer and a passionate musician who loves to travel often. He's worked as a researcher for a number of venture capital firms and as a freelancer designer for resorts and corporations in Korea and the Philippines. Joseph will be covering new technologies, startups, technical analysis and breaking news in the bitcoin industry.