Decision time for Malaysia’s fintech regulators
Just as Asia's 'largest blockchain centre' opens in KL, a group of Malaysian academics is urging its government to hone the country's crypto laws
Just as Kuala Lumpur hosted the opening of what claims to be the “largest blockchain centre in Asia,” a newly published report has urged the Malaysian government to hone and relax the regulations covering blockchain technology.
The 242-page report, entitled “Tailoring Malaysian blockchain regulations for the new digital economy”, was published yesterday by the University of Malaya’s Faculty of Law.
While it aims to be a “starting point to synthesize some of the [existing] legal viewpoints into collective practical solutions which will benefit Malaysia,” it also calls on the country’s central bank and securities commission to work together to define and provide better clarity, especially in regard to crypto-related taxation.
The legality of crypto-currency trading in Malaysia remains somewhat unclear, as it is not formally illegal but remains unregulated. Report project director Nur Husna Zakaria said the current government stance was “promising” because, as yet, “none of the regulators in Malaysia has banned any transaction related to blockchain,” but she urged all government stakeholders to work alongside the country’s blockchain community to “ensure whatever regulation is [put] in place … is comprehensive.”
According to the Malaysia’s Sun Daily, the country’s Inland Revenue Board is now studying the country’s crypto-currency market but has given no timeline on the release of any guidelines or legislation.
The University of Malaya report was published the day after international technology developer NEM Foundation opened its new Southeast Asian HQ in Kuala Lumpur. The 11,000-square-foot facility, that NEM claims is the biggest blockchain-focussed facility in Asia, will act as a learning centre, incubator and accelerator for blockchain related startups.
The centre aims to serve as an R&D facility for NEM related developers, business users and crypto exchanges and already Appsolutely Inc, a crypto-based rewards and loyalty business from the Philippines, has based its regional operations at the NEM centre, as has Indonesian crypto retail startup Pundi X and Singaporean mobile settlement solution Dragonfly Fintech.
Singapore-based NEM, that gained global notoriety after its own digital token was at the centre of a $530 million hack in January 2018, announced earlier this month that it had devoted $40 million to an on-going global expansion program. NEM says $5 million of this fund has been allocated to support blockchain companies based at the new Kuala Lumpur centre.
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