Malaysia’s central bank is reportedly developing guidelines for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, expected to come into effect later this year.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a financial symposium in Kuala Lumpur, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Muhammad bin Ibrahim revealed that the central bank will develop “clear guidelines” for participants in the local digital currency sector.
In quotes reported by regional publication The Star Malaysia, the central bank official stated:
We hope that by year end, BNM will be able to come out with some guidelines on cryptocurrency, particularly those related to anti-money laundering and terrorist financing. We want to ensure that there are clear guidelines for those who want to participate in this sector.
While the central bank is likely to be involved in drafting these guidelines, it’s unclear if other Malaysian authorities in finance or taxation, as an example, would be involved.
In what has largely been a wait-and-see approach to digital currencies, the move towards developing regulation still represents a marked U-turn in the stance taken by the central bank. With a public statement/warning in early 2014, the BNM announced “Bitcoin is not recognized as legal tender in Malaysia,” while adding that “the central bank does not regulate the operations of Bitcoin.”
The central bank governor’s revelation comes at a time when Malaysia’s securities regulator issued a public statement on fundraising via initial coin offerings (ICOs), a radical new form of raising finance through cryptocurrencies. Last week, the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) ‘cautioned’ investors of the risks it sees inherent in ‘digital token based fundraising activities/investment schemes.’
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