Malaysian cryptocurrency regulation comes into effect on Tuesday, Reuters reports on Monday, Jan. 14.

The Malaysian finance minister, Lim Guan Eng, reportedly said today that the Capital Markets and Services Order 2019 would become effective on Jan. 15. According to Reuters, the new regulation classifies digital currencies, tokens and crypto-assets as securities, placing them under the Securities Commission’s authority.

Starting from Tuesday, any person operating unauthorized initial coin offerings (ICOs) or digital asset exchanges in Malaysia will be reportedly facing a 10-year jail sentence and a 10 million ($2.4 million) ringgit fine.

According to Malaysian news outlet The Star, Eng noted the positive outlook of the Ministry of Finance on the cryptocurrency industry, stating:

“The Ministry of Finance views digital assets, as well as its underlying blockchain technologies, as having the potential to bring about innovation in both old and new industries.”

Namely, Eng noted that the ministry believes digital assets offer both an alternative fundraising method and a new asset class for investors.

As Cointelegraph reported, the Malaysian government was still undecided whether to legalize cryptocurrencies just two days ago.

Still, it has reportedly been clear since November of last year that Malaysia will enact regulations for cryptocurrency and ICOs in Q1 2019, as Cointelegraph reported at the time.

*This post is credited to CoinTelepgraph

 

When – April 27, 2019
Where –  165 Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
https://malaysia.tradersfair.com/

Traders Fair & Gala Night, Malaysia brings together tremendous financial topics. We are waiting for traders, investors and crypto enthusiasts to take part in our event in Malaysia on the 27th of April 2019 (InterContinental Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). The best trading experts, cryptocompanies, money brokers and banks from all over the world are going to share out their experience and to find out new up-to-date information about cryptocurrency, forex, stocks, futures and options markets. Also Traders Fair & Gala Night is going to be full of educational programs and entertainment. To register online now, you should visit https://malaysia.tradersfair.com/

Crypto Conference Hall will be included in the agenda. It’ll be a separate seminar room dedicated to the world of crypto during Traders Fair & Gala Night, Malaysia. The seminars are going to be not just about building a network between crypto companies and gurus from all over the world but more so about getting to know what crypto world is actually about. We invite the best crypto experts and professionals from worldwide companies working with ICO, blockchain and cryptocurrency to provide you with the most important and up-to-date information. From 10 AM till 4.40 PM they will try to clarify the complex knowledge and share some secrets of trading strategy.

Traders Fair & Gala Night, Malaysia is organized by FINEXPO which is the largest company organizing financial and trading events, fairs, expos, and shows worldwide since 2002. Over 30000 traders, investors and financial advisors and more than 3 000 financial companies and brokers from Forex, stock, option, bond crypto money and forward markets from all around the world have been connected by FINEXPO.

Online registration https://malaysia.tradersfair.com/Get the access to the incredible flagship event in ASIA!
Telegram: https://t.me/traders-fair
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TradersFair/

Malaysia’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and its Securities Commission (SC) have recently released a joint statement saying that they will be collaborating in implementing a regulatory framework for digital currencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the country. In a joint statement, the two organizations clarified that the collaborations will be restricted to only ensuring compliance with laws and regulations that fall under the oversight authority of the financial regulator and the central bank – no more, no less.

“In order to implement the regulatory framework on digital assets, the SC and BNM will enter into coordination arrangements to ensure compliance with laws and regulations under the purview of both regulators,” said the joint media release.

The statement further pointed out that the said regulations are currently being put in place and the main intention is to bring digital assets such as cryptocurrencies within the remit of securities laws so as to promote fair and orderly trading while at the same time promoting investor protection.

What It Means for ICOs and Crypto Startups

From here on out, the Securities Commission will be regulating Initial Coin offerings as well as digital currency trading in the country. At the moment, relevant legislative measures are being worked on – these will require that cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offering issuers dealing with digital currencies to fully comply with the central bank’s laws and regulations. In addition to this, the issuers of ICOs and the exchanges will also need to comply with the Securities Commission’s ‘Guidelines on Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing’.

Malaysia has always been considered to be a pro-digital currency nation but the joint statement shifted this notion. According to the central bank, digital assets are not a legal tender in the country. This joint statement comes barely a week after Lim Guan Eng, Malaysia’s finance minister, stated that crypto-regulations would be introduced within the first quarter of 2019 to ensure that the interests of investors are protected. A month ago, the finance minister also said that only the central bank has the authority to decide on whether or not any party can issue cryptocurrencies.

As much as they may seem to be quite strict, the finance minister’s directives have the potential to significantly boost the adoption of digital currencies in the country especially now that it has been confirmed that regulations are on the way. The regulatory framework is a key component of the government’s plans to spur the growth of alternative financing for enterprises, one of the government’s key focuses as it seeks to encourage growth in the private sector while at the same time reducing the government’s fiscal burdens.

Furthermore, for a financial environment where the conventional funding sources are susceptible to a number of setbacks, crypto-powered alternative financing solutions could play a huge role in the development of Malaysia’s budding knowledge economy.

*This post is credited to Cryptocurrency365

Malaysia will enforce a new regulation on digital asset, cryptocurrency exchanges and ICOs early 2019. 

Malaysia is moving forward in the digital economy. The country’s minister of finance, Lim Guan Eng just announced that official regulations for digital asset, cryptocurrency exchanges as well as ICOs will be enforced by Q1 2019.

This is part of the country’s Securities Commission’s (SC) efforts to facilitate an alternative for fundraising avenues and new investment asset classes.

Despite the skepticism of certain parties, the minister believes that this is the right direction to go. Quoting what he said in his speech during the FinTech Conference 2018, “While some parties might still be skeptical of this space, there can be no doubt that we need appropriate regulations to be put in place and enforced to safeguard the interest of investors.”

He further explained that any parties interested in developing crypto exchanges or conducting ICOs must work within the framework set by the SC and the country’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia, which will be supervised by the Finance Ministry.

That said, Lim ensures the government’s full commitment to support “high potential and innovative micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)”, by saying, “We are keen on the continued development of such alternative financing avenues for these businesses beyond the traditional channels of financing.”

According to Coinwire, earlier this month, a member of the Malaysian Parliament urged the government to suspend the approval of a state-backed digital currency until proper regulations are enforced.

“The anonymous nature of cryptocurrency may open us up to a number of issues and we need to wait for guidelines from [the country’s central bank] Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) in regard of cryptocurrency,” said Fahmi Fadzil, the director of People’s Justice Party (PKR).

*This post is credited to Chepicap

Tuesday brings expansion in Japan, more mining woes in China, blockchain compliance in Abu Dhabi and in Hong Kong and ‘political’ crypto in Malaysia

Hong Kong port embraces blockchain: Hong Kong’s Modern Terminals have signed a deal to use a Maersk-IBM blockchain platform. The TradeLens solution works to process documentation and verification to speed up customs clearance. More than 20 port and terminal operators globally are piloting the solution. The system claims to allow shippers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, port and terminal operators, inland transportation and customs authorities access to operational data – including container temperature and information weight – and also to blockchain smart contracts.

 

World’s first ‘political’ crypto in Malaysia: Bank Negara Malaysia, the country’s Central Bank, says they must approve all new digital currencies. This comes as the crypto-currency Harapan Coin is launched. The team behind the initiative calls it the world’s first “crypto-politic” coin and it is backed by Paratan Harapan, the current government ruling coalition who have created it to elicit “opposing sentiments against the current governing coalition, in preparation for the coming election.” They hope to raise $120 million. And to date? $715.35.

*This post is credited to Asia Times

Malaysian Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has stated that any entity wishing to issue cryptocurrency must defer to the country’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM). The minister’s comments were reported by local English-language daily broadsheet the New Straits Times (NST) Nov. 26.

The finance minister outlined his stance in response to a question from parliamentary member Dr Tan Yee Kew of the country’s ruling People’s Justice Party (PKR). Dr. Tan reportedly inquired into which measures were being taken to assess the risks cryptocurrencies may pose for the financial system and local fiat currency.

As the NST notes, Dr. Tan’s question came in the context of a project for a government-backed cryptocurrency, dubbed Harapan Coin, that is soon due to be presented before the central bank and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The Harapan Coin claims to be the world’s first political fundraising platform deploying cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Last week, a Malaysian Member of Parliament urged the government to implement crypto regulations before moving forward with the plans for the coin.

As previously reported, BNM initially planned to issue a directive to regulate the use of cryptocurrencies in early 2018, after several months of preparations.

Guan Eng responded to Dr. Tan’s question by urging caution, stressing that the systemic impact of cryptocurrencies on financial stability is still being examined, and that all entities considering  cryptocurrency issuance are subject to the regulatory line of the central bank:

“I advise all parties wishing to introduce Bitcoin (style) 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.”

As NST further reports, Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad revealed on Nov. 13 that all paperwork had been readied to pitch the Harapan Coin project before BNM and the presidential council. The proposal has drawn sharp criticisms from multiple civic and political actors, with civil society group Centre for a Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) accusing the government of being “overly eager” to launch into “trendy but untested schemes.”

In February, the country passed legislation requiring crypto exchanges to fully identify traders after the implementation of new central bank’s anti-money laundering (AML) legislation. The NST’s report today refers to further comments from the finance minister that outlined Malaysia’s struggle with illicit monetary outflows, across the spectrum of income, customs and tax duty evasion, smuggling, illegal capital outflows, and more.

*This post is credited to Cointelegraph 

The Malaysian Ministry of Education has been putting blockchain technology into good use of late. A recent report made it known that the technology is currently being considered as an avenue through which degree fraud in the country can be curbed.

Malaysian Ministry of Education

The Malaysian Ministry of Education has come to the conclusion that the use of blockchain technology will be the perfect way for it to maintain the integrity and reputation of degrees awarded by universities in the countries.
As a result of this, the ministry has revealed an issuance and verification system targeted at verifying university degrees. The system is based on the NEM blockchain. The ministry has officially named the system e-Scroll system.

Malaysia’s Ministry of Education has also explained why it decided to stick to the NEM blockchain over other popular networks. The ministry made it known that the NEM blockchain was selected practically due to its unique features with regards to authenticating and managing traceability.

Since the idea came to light early this year through the Council of ICT Deans of Malaysian universities, all hands have been on deck to achieve the needed results.

The council stress that: “The e-Scroll system is expected to combat the rising cases of fake degrees in Malaysia some of which are now even being sourced online from ‘diploma mills’.”

The Effect of Fake Educational Certificate

A fake educational certificate has been identified as a major issue in the country. It was reported that the health sector of the country has suffered the most from the effect of fake certification. If this continues to happen, it can only get worse. The ministry further confirmed this in a recent statement:

“Realizing the need to safeguard the reputation and integrity of Malaysian universities, the Ministry of Education has taken a decisive action to prevent such degree fraud which also cheats and unfairly disadvantages genuine students,”

The Ministry of Education (MoE) of Malaysia is establishing a University Consortium to combat degree fraud using blockchain, the ministry announced in a tweet Nov. 8.

According to the ministry’s tweet, the system is designed to issue and verify the authenticity of university-issued degrees. The new government-backed consortium will initially be comprised of six public universities and their diploma-verifying system is set to operate using the NEM (XEM) blockchain. According to the ministry, the new system was developed by a team led by a professor from the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).

According to a local media report, the idea of the consortium was proposed by the MoE in order to preserve the reputation and the integrity of Malaysian universities, to protect the rights of students, as well as to promote distributed ledger technology (DLT).

The MoE commented to the media that the main purpose behind the establishment of the consortium is to “spread skills training,” as well as to develop and adopt the technology by students and academics. In the long term, the ministry stated it is also eyeing the development of what it referred to as “industry-standard” blockchain solutions that could potentially generate revenue for Consortium member universities.

Recently, a Russian state-backed university announced it would store diploma data on blockchain, claiming that the institution has already recorded the information of “all diplomas issued over the past ten years” using DLT.

In October last year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) reportedly became the world’s first university to issue digital diplomas by implementing blockchain technology.

*This post is credited to CoinTelegraph

Investors should expect more initial coin offering (ICO) projects to fail in the next few months as the global regulatory environment has tightened amid a cryptocurrency bear market, says Aaron Ting, secretary of Access Blockchain Association Malaysia.

“A good example is the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) decision to regulate cryptocurrencies under its federal securities laws. As a result, [the providers of] digital tokens that function as securities are required to adhere to the rules and regulations of the SEC,” he adds.

“Failing to do so could prompt the regulator to announce that the projects are illegal and action could be taken against them. It is not hard to imagine that the price of these digital tokens would fall if such an announcement was made.”

Last month, the SEC took its first enforcement action against a cryptocurrency hedge fund when it issued Crypto Asset Management LP and its founder Timothy Enneking a cease and desist order and a fine of US$200,000. The fund was marketed as “the first regulated crypto asset fund in the US” even though it operated as an unregistered investment company.

“Not only have regulations tightened, so has enforcement. Local investors should be aware of this as a number of them have invested in ICO projects overseas. It is a global issue and local investors could be affected,” says Ting, who is also vice-president of the Malaysian Investors’ Association.

The bear market has reduced liquidity and exposed the highly speculative nature of the cryptocurrency market to a wider group of investors, he adds.

As at Oct 19, bitcoin — the dominant cryptocurrency in the market — had fallen 53.82% year to date to US$6,517. Ether, the cryptocurrency with the second largest market capitalisation, fell 72.84% to US$203.01, according to CoinMarketCap. Many digital tokens raised via ICOs (also known as alternative coins) have seen their prices fall by 90% or more.

“Previously, the wealth created by the bitcoin rally flowed into ether and other digital tokens. Everyone was happy when prices were up. But now, the reverse is happening. Money is flowing from the various digital tokens to bitcoin and fiat currencies,” says Ting.

As a result of the plunging prices, some ICO projects have failed and investors and speculators have suffered losses. Ting expects more of this going forward. “Investors should expect to see more failed projects. Some of them may be scams operating in the grey area since the beginning,” he says.

Ting says the bear market exposes the weaknesses of the cryptocurrency industry. Many ICO projects have not been carried out properly and investor money has not been utilised as stipulated in the white paper.

“There are many mismatches when you compare the details laid out in the ICO white papers with the projects’ underlying businesses. It is akin to the project promoter telling you that it is venturing into a café business that requires US$100 million. Then it raises that amount and only invests a few hundred thousand in buying a space and there are no business operations. Nobody knows where the rest of the money has gone. When times are bad, more of these projects will fail fast,” says Ting.

Access Blockchain Association Malaysia’s primary goal is to promote the use of blockchain technology in the country’s public and private sectors.

Players prefer stricter regulations
When cryptocurrency prices were soaring, industry players called for less restrictive regulations for ICO projects. But now, after suffering losses and feeling the pain, some of them are calling for stricter regulations, says Ting.

“They also acknowledge the fact that the industry is not sustainable without rules and regulations to protect investor interest. Yes, you can say that the players are trying to redefine the industry and are calling for more regulations,” he adds.

As a result, the industry now uses the term “security token offering”, or STO, instead of ICO, says Ting. This means that a company issues its securities in the form of digital tokens and adheres to the country’s securities laws. It is the adherence to rules and regulations that separates STOs from ICOs, he points out.

“You can see that ICO project owners [in the US] are starting to approach the SEC and trying their best to adhere to the country’s securities laws before issuing tokens to the public. An example is the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX), which has established a listing process for ICO projects to enhance investor protection. More ICO project owners have approached the exchange recently,” says Ting.

STOs have been touted by industry players as a safer way to invest in businesses vis-à-vis ICOs as they are backed by tangible components such as the company’s profit, revenue or assets.

Ting says most of the players who are serious about growing the cryptocurrency industry are talking about STOs and only a few of them still support unregulated ICO projects. “The market is correcting itself,” he adds.

However, a trend reversal could cut off retail investors’ access to ICO projects. That is because traditional securities exchanges deem it as a risky asset class that should only be available to accredited investors. For instance, GBX adheres to the SEC’s definition of accredited investors and only allows those who earn US$200,000 a year or have a net worth of more than US$1 million to trade security tokens listed on the exchange.

While Ting agrees that there should be more rules and regulations for ICO projects, he does not support the idea that such investments should only be open to accredited investors. “I would say a person’s net worth does not reflect his knowledge about cryptocurrencies and ICO projects. This also defeats the purpose of tokenisation, which aims to provide retail investors with access to illiquid investments,” he says.

Tokenisation is underpinned by blockchain technology. It enables the owner of an illiquid asset, such as an expensive property, to convert its value into digital tokens that allow retail investors to own a fraction of the asset, which they would not otherwise be able to afford.

For instance, a RM3 million property could be converted into three million digital tokens. This would enable a retail investor to purchase 3,000 tokens for RM3,000 to get a 0.1% stake in the property.

Ting suggests that the authorities and exchanges come out with a process to assess the knowledge of retail investors on digital tokens, blockchain technology and the different business models offered by STO project owners. “They should be allowed to invest in these tokens if they pass the test,” he says.

Possible trends
The cryptocurrency market may have plunged, but Ting remains confident in the future of STOs. He expects the listing of digital tokens by securities exchanges to be more common when the rules and regulations become clearer.

“You could see securities exchanges around the world setting up their own security token exchanges. This could be a trend worth observing. And when that happens, it will be a new segment for investors to look into,” says Ting.

He also says regulators around the world could begin segregating the function of digital tokens and there could come a time when hybrid tokens are no longer allowed in the market.

A hybrid token could function as a utility token (like tickets at amusement parks) as well as a security token (which offers investors a stake in a business in exchange for capital funding).

“These hybrid tokens that function as utility and security tokens are listed on cryptocurrency exchanges, and they are difficult for the regulators to regulate. However, going forward, hybrid tokens may no longer be allowed,” says Ting.

“If it is a utility token, the price should be fixed using a specific mechanism. There should be no speculation as it is merely used to gain access to certain blockchain services. And if it is a security token, it will be regulated under the country’s securities laws and could be traded on exchanges like stocks. This could be a trend going forward.”

*This post is credited to TheEdgeMarkets

Are you an avid traveler, but also a crypto enthusiast keen on using digital coins instead of cash? Well, look no further, as this list provides the most crypto-friendly cities and how coins have seeped into the economies of these places.

9. Amsterdam, Netherlands

There are plenty of reasons to visit Amsterdam: architecture, museums, food, and bustling nightlife. Another thing that makes Amsterdam a prime location is its status as one of the world’s top crypto friendly cities.

Amsterdam has made a progress  when it comes to cryptocurrency adoption. The city is also home to the Bitcoin Embassy. The Bitcoin Embassy in Amsterdam is where the crypto community actively puts in their efforts to promote Bitcoin. Also, as of 2015, Amsterdam opened its Bitcoin Boulevard, a street where most merchants accept Bitcoin as payment for their products and services.

The city is home to more than 40 merchants which accept Bitcoin, as well as many crypto ATMs. Also, many crypto startups and ICOs have set up their base of operation in Amsterdam, which is seen as one of the best cities for tech startups in Europe.

amsterdam

Source: Pixabay

8. Singapore, Malaysia

After China’s ban on ICOs, many businesses from the crypto space relocated their operations to Singapore. imToken, a prominent Ethereum wallet, also moved its office to Singapore. Singapore regulators have a transparent approach when it comes to cryptocurrencies. This creates an environment which has less uncertainty for crypto companies than in other crypto climates.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has even put out a “Guide to Digital Token Offering,” which covers how security laws apply to token offerings. Furthermore, Singapore’s regulations do not affect utility tokens, as stated by Damien Pang, the head of Singapore’s Technology Infrastructure Office under the FinTech & Innovation Group (FTIG). At the Consensus Singapore, Pang said that only payment tokens would be affected by the regulations.

7. Ljubljana, Slovenia

Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, is one of the smallest cities in Europe that never ceases to impress when it comes to tech innovation and crypto adoption.

Ljubljana is also home to the world’s first Bitcoin-friendly mall, “Bitcoin City,” which was opened earlier this year. This impressive mall is over 1.56 million square feet, to be more precise. All merchants that have shops in the mall accept Bitcoin and make use of blockchain technology. Bitcoin City is more than just a mall, also serving as a large business and recreational center.

Ljubljana is also where Bitstamp, one of the most popular crypto exchanges, has established its headquarter.

6. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Argentina’s capital and also its the largest city has become one of the most crypto friendly cities out of necessity rather than love for this tech. As the country entered a deep recession a few years ago, the inflation in Argentina reached nearly 25%.

This decline in the Argentinian peso and capital control enforced by the government prompted many Argentinians to turn to cryptocurrency, Bitcoin in particular. Also, many merchants started supporting Bitcoin as a payment method. Currently, there are more than 120 businesses that function by using this cryptocurrency.

Buenos Aires also hosted the first Bitcoin conference to ever take place in Latin America. The conference , “Bitcoin Day,” was held in April last year. Moreover, startups like SatoshiTango, Ripio (formerly BitPagos), and Buda call this city home.

Earlier this year, Athena Bitcoin, an American Bitcoin ATM company, revealed that it intends on setting up the first Bitcoin ATMs in Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires

Source: Pixabay

4. Toronto, Canada

The light regulations for cryptos and ICOs, as well as the supportive attitude of its government towards tech startups make Canada one of the most welcoming countries for blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Toronto has become one of the world’s most crypto friendly cities and hosts a number of successful crypto enterprises. One example is Decentral, the company which created Jaxx, a well-established cryptocurrency wallet.

Also, according to data from Coin ATM Radar, over 200 crypto ATMs are spread across Toronto. This is one of the biggest numbers of ATMs that can be found in any city worldwide.

3. Zug, Switzerland

Zug is a small city that has less than 30,000 people living in it. Though it isn’t as well known as the other cities in the list, it constantly appears in blockchain and cryptocurrency news. It is regarded to be one of the most technologically advanced cities on a global scale.

Many important crypto companies are based here, Zug earning the nickname of “Crypto Valley”. For instance, the notorious Tezos ICO was held in this city last year.

A few years ago, Zug became the first city that accepted Bitcoin for paying taxes. Additionally, the municipality has recently started accepting cryptocurrencies as payment for government services on a trial basis.

zug

Source: cryptovalley.swiss

2. New York City, New York

New York is home to more than 100 merchants which support Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency payments. Also, there are more than 150 crypto ATMs spread across the city.

Some crypto startups started out in New York. For instance, Coinsetter, one of the oldest Bitcoin exchanges, was established in New York back in 2012. In 2016, Coinsetter was bought by Kraken in one of the biggest M&A deals to ever occur in the cryptosphere.

Furthermore, New York even has its own digital asset, the New York Coin. However, it has a market cap of just $3.65 million.

1. San Francisco, California

San Francisco is the first on our list for a very good reason. Being known as one of the world’s leading tech hubs, it is no wonder that an emergent technology such as blockchain is present here.

The city has more than 870,000 residents, approximately 60 ATMs that process crypto conversions, and more than 100 retailers who support cryptocurrency payments.

Coinbase, one of the most famous cryptocurrency exchange platforms and the creator of one of the most secure cryptocurrency wallets, is headquartered in San Francisco along with many other cryptocurrency and blockchain companies.

SF

Source: siliconvalleyaircharter.com

Conclusion

This has been our list of the most crypto-friendly cities in the world. Be sure to visit one of them if you intend on using your crypto assets!

*This post is credited to Use The Bitcoin