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[UPDATED] Malaysian Central Bank Will Let Public Decide On Cryptocurrencies




Choosing to neither ban nor acknowledge them as fiat currencies, Bank Negara Malaysia is taking a laissez-faire approach to cryptocurrencies.

UPDATED | February 27, 2018:

After receiving input from various stakeholders, Malaysia's central bank has issued a policy that aims to address the "money laundering and terrorism financing risks associated with the use of digital currencies and to increase the transparency of digital currency activities in Malaysia." 

ORIGINAL | February 12, 2018:

Reports from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on February 12, 2018, indicate that Governor Muhammad Ibrahim of Bank Negara Malaysia, the country's central bank, will release a concept paper on cryptocurrencies for public consideration later this month. The bank has pledged to neither ban cryptocurrencies nor classify them as fiat, but will let the market decide on which cryptocurrencies thrive and which fall into obscurity.

Ibrahim explained the approach of the bank as he fielded questions during the 40th anniversary dinner of Harvard Business School Alumni Club of Malaysia:

"Basically, we will let the cryptocurrency promoters including bitcoin, ethereum and ripple to be more transparent ... By doing so, the public can decide on its own if they want to invest in cryptocurrencies."

Another official in Malaysia who opposes heavy restrictions is Deputy Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani, who believes a ban might "curb creativity and innovation in [the] financial sector."

In a speech he gave on February 9 before attendants at the Sime Darby Convention Centre, Ibrahim touched on the inflation that Malaysia experienced in 2008 and his country's deviation from the norm. He quoted President John F. Kennedy about "conformity" being "the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth."

The spirit of Kennedy's words would seem to live on in Malaysia's divergence from the decisions made by other governments that have cracked down more severely on cryptocurrency.

ETHNews will provide additional coverage after the paper's release.

Jeremy Nation

Jeremy Nation is a writer living in Los Angeles with interests in technology, human rights, and cuisine.

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