Malaysia Central Bank to ”Let Public Decide” Crypto’s Fate

Malaysia Central Bank to Let Public Decide Crypto’s Fate

Malaysia’s central bank, Bank Negara, is set to release a “concept paper,” calling for the public to decide the fate of cryptocurrencies in the country, according to a recent report. Bank Negara governor Muhammad Ibrahim is said to have assured the bank will neither ban nor recognize cryptocurrency, and that the paper will be finalized in February.

Also read: Internet Pioneer Who Influenced Assange & Snowden Dead at 70

Malaysia Lets Public Decide

At the 40th anniversary dinner of Harvard Business School Alumni Club of Malaysia, Bank Negara governor Muhammad Ibrahim said, “Basically, we will let the cryptocurrency promoters including bitcoin, ethereum and ripple to be more transparent, the methods to be more transparent and people behind the scene are to be more transparent too. By doing so, the public can decide on its own if they want to invest in cryptocurrencies.’’

Malaysia in recent years has been an economic tiger, its economy growing faster than more powerful regional cousins South Korea, and even outpacing France and Australia. Its government is unusually paternalistic with regard to the economy, however, though less so as it has developed. Politically it occupies an odd space in Southeast Asia as a federal constitutional elective monarchy. Something akin to the Westminster system, the king is chosen in rotation by hereditary families, and he acts as ceremonial head of state, appointing upper parliament house members and ministers.

Malaysia Central Bank to Let Public Decide Crypto’s Fate

Mr. Ibrahim’s comments follow Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani who explained the country wouldn’t ban cryptocurrency completely so as to avoid curbing “creativity and innovation in [the] financial sector,” according to a report. This is at least the second time the government has reverted to public opinion with regard to cryptocurrencies. Back in December of last year, the central bank put together crypto regulatory guidelines for both citizens and businesses in the country.

Bold Policy

While Mr. Ibrahim’s latest comments might seem a victory for freer market forces, a hint of the old paternalism also pervaded the report. He waxed on about exactly how much debt citizens should have relative to housing prices, broadening to the regulator’s role in an economy. He mentioned understanding the corporate sector is always looking for a relaxation of rules, but that the government’s job was to preserve “stability.”

Malaysia Central Bank to Let Public Decide Crypto’s Fate

“When necessary, policy makers should be bold in drafting policies especially when the operation in financial and economic system face pressure or the yardsticks are no longer effective,”  he reminded.

For crypto enthusiasts, the hope is Bank Negara really does listen to its citizens, as the country continues to have a vibrant scene of cryptocurrency exchanges in the traditional sense along with peer-to-peer options. 

Do you think the central bank will keep its word and listen to the will of the people? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Bank of Thailand Bans Banks From Cryptocurrency Activities

Bank of Thailand Bans Banks From Five Cryptocurrency Activities

The Thai central bank has prohibited financial institutions in the country from five key cryptocurrency activities, including banning customers from buying cryptocurrencies with credit cards.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

Banks Banned From 5 Crypto Activities

Bank of Thailand Bans Banks From Five Cryptocurrency ActivitiesThe Bank of Thailand (BOT) issued a circular on Monday asking “financial institutions not to get involved in cryptocurrency transactions for fear of possible problems from the unregulated trading,” Reuters translated.

Mr. Wisit Santiprabop, the central bank’s governor, signed the circular which outlines five key cryptocurrency activities banks are banned from:

Investing or trading in cryptocurrency, exchanging cryptocurrencies, creating platforms for cryptocurrency trading, allowing clients to use credit cards to buy cryptocurrencies, and from advising customers on cryptocurrency investing or trading.

Bank of Thailand Bans Banks From Five Cryptocurrency Activities
Circular explaining five crypto activities banks are banned from.

The central bank stated that “cryptocurrencies were not legal tender in Thailand,” the publication conveyed, adding that “it was worried that they may be used in illegal activities such as money laundering or supporting terrorism.”

Recently, the Thai government announced that it will not ban cryptocurrencies and is developing a regulatory framework for them.

Banks Complying

Bank of Thailand Bans Banks From Five Cryptocurrency ActivitiesMs. Prasanee Auiyamaphan, a Bangkok Bank Executive Assistant, was quoted by Voice TV saying that the bank has “no policy to provide [crypto] exchange services,” emphasizing that cryptocurrencies cannot be exchanged for cash at her bank.

Bank of Thailand Bans Banks From Five Cryptocurrency ActivitiesMr. Thana Thienachariya, Senior Executive VP and Chief Marketing Officer at Siam Commercial Bank said that its subsidiary, Digital Ventures Co. Ltd., has previously formed a strategic alliance with Ripple to offer a payment service between Japan and Thailand. He added that his bank will be discussing this issue with the central bank.

Bank of Thailand Bans Banks From Five Cryptocurrency ActivitiesMr. Thakorn Piyapan, Head of Krungsri Consumer Group and an executive of Digital Banking and Innovation at Bank of Ayudhya said, “although the bank will use the transfer service across the country through Ripple,” it is cooperating with the BOT and “does not provide any [cryptocurrency] services at all.”

He explained that there are some areas that banks need to examine before being able to comply. For example, to prevent customers from buying cryptocurrencies using credit cards, he elaborated:

In Thailand, people are buying digital currency. So the bank is asking for time to check the type of transactions that customers [make when they] swipe cards that are associated with digital currency. If applicable, the bank may have to suspend the service.

Recently, banks in the US and well as the UK have also banned their credit card customers from buying cryptocurrencies.

As for cryptocurrency traders, Poramin Insom, managing director of the Thai crypto exchange TDAX, said that “there is no impact on people who are investors of cryptocurrencies,” the news outlet quoted him. However, he explained, “TDAX is affected by this announcement, which makes the process of opening an account with the bank take longer. Bank of Thailand requests more documents.”

What do you think of the Bank of Thailand’s action? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bangkok Bank, SCB, Krungsri, and Bank of Thailand.


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France and Germany Urge Discussions on Crypto Policy at G20 Summit

High ranking officials from France and Germany have issued a letter urging the finance officials of other nations to discuss the regulatory implications of cryptocurrencies at the upcoming G20 Summit.

Also Read: India’s Tax Department Issues Notices to 100,000 Crypto Investors

Leaders Call for “Trans-Boundary” Action Against Cryptocurrencies

France and Germany Urge Discussions on Crypto Policy at G20 SummitThe letter is authored by the French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, Peter Altmaier of the German Ministry of Finance, French central bank governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau, and the president of the German Federal Bank, Jens Weidmann.

The document emphasizes the need for a transnational regulatory approach in order to enforce cryptocurrency policy, urging finance officials to discuss issues relating to cryptocurrency policy and enforcement at the upcoming G20 Summit. The letter also called for a report by the International Monetary Fund into the potential implications that virtual currencies may have for global financial stability.

The document states “We believe there may be new opportunities arising from the tokens and the technologies behind them. However, tokens could pose substantial risks for investors and can be vulnerable to financial crime without appropriate measures. In the longer run, potential risks in the field of financial stability may emerge as well,” adding that “Tokens and their potential for financial innovation should not be left to those who make the worst use of them.”

Officials Advocate Extension of Existing Financial Regulatory Apparatus

France and Germany Urge Discussions on Crypto Policy at G20 SummitThe letter advocates for existing financial regulatory apparatus be extended to apply to the cryptocurrency sphere, stating “Great efforts have been made in recent years to protect retail investors and consumers more generally, and there is no reason that appropriate frameworks should not be applicable in this sector.”

The document states that “France and Germany have already taken concrete regulatory measures regarding ‘virtual currencies’ in the field of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing and the European Union is working in the same direction. However, an efficient pushback against the use of ‘tokens’ and ‘virtual currencies’ for the purpose of criminal activities will require a coordinated international effort.”

“We will have a joint Franco-German analysis of the risks linked to bitcoin, regulation proposals and these will be submitted as a joint proposal to our G20 counterparts at the G20 summit in Argentina in March,” Le Maire told reporters.

Mainstream Reporting Leaves Misinformed Investors At Risk

France and Germany Urge Discussions on Crypto Policy at G20 SummitThe letter expresses concerns regarding the widespread public lack of knowledge regarding virtual currencies, emphasizing issues relating to the presentation of cryptocurrencies in mainstream media.

The document claims that cryptocurrencies are “largely mislabeled as ‘currencies’ in the media and on the internet,” warning that “the build-up of individual exposures to such volatile tokens could have damaging consequences for misinformed investors who do not understand the risks they are exposing themselves to.”

What is your reaction to the French and German officials’ calls for transnational efforts to enforce cryptocurrency regulations? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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Thai Government Cannot Stop Crypto Use – Regulatory Framework Expected in a Month

Thai Government Cannot Stop Crypto Use - Regulatory Framework Expected in a Month

Thailand’s financial agencies have agreed that regulators cannot stop the use of cryptocurrencies within the country. The relevant ministries will meet and discuss the regulatory framework for digital currencies and initial coin offerings, which is expected to be finalized within a month.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

Can’t Stop Crypto – Forced to Regulate

Thailand’s Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong said on Thursday that “The government will not ban cryptocurrency trading,” the Bangkok Post reported, adding that “A regulatory framework to govern digital currencies will become clearer within a month.” At the “Thailand Takeoff 2018” seminar, he emphasized:

After a recent discussion, related agencies agreed that regulators cannot stop the use of virtual currencies but will have to regulate and control them in an appropriate manner.

Thai Government Cannot Stop Crypto Use - Regulatory Framework Expected in a MonthThe Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (TSEC), the Ministry of Finance, the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Office, and the Bank of Thailand (BOT) will soon meet to discuss this matter in detail, according to Thai Rath.

In addition, “Mr. Apisak said that the best authority to take care of digital currency is the [T]SEC, because the [T]SEC is responsible for the oversight of securities,” the news outlet wrote. The finance minister also indicated that the Bank of Thailand is not the appropriate organization to oversee cryptocurrencies since they are not recognized as legal tender.

The regulators are “currently drafting legislation to oversee and regulate the use of digital currency, [which is] expected to be finalized within 1 month,” Channel 7 reported.

Regulating ICOs

Thai Government Cannot Stop Crypto Use - Regulatory Framework Expected in a MonthThe Thai government will also regulate ICOs. The finance minister asserted that if Thailand is to improve its fintech sector, it must be able to regulate cryptocurrencies and ICOs, Prachachat Turakij details.

Recently, a mobile distributor listed on the Thailand Stock Exchange (SET), Jaymart, announced plans to let its subsidiary, J Ventures, raise funds through an ICO. With a pre-sale in February and the official ICO in March, the company aims to raise 660 million baht (~USD$20.8 million) and will use the funds to “develop a decentralised digital lending platform” using blockchain technology, the Bangkok Post describes.

Finance permanent secretary Somchai Sujjapongse explained that the TSEC is taking responsibility for this matter and is conducting a public hearing on ICOs, the publication noted and quoted him saying:

There is no law governing ICOs, so Jaymart has not done anything wrong – but don’t cheat people.

Do you think the Thai government is taking the right approach to regulating cryptocurrencies and ICOs? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Thai SEC.


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