Malaysia’s deputy minister of its Communications and Multimedia Ministry told the parliament on Monday the country should consider adopting cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as legal tender, local media The Star reported.

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Fast facts

  • Zahidi Zainul Abidin, the deputy minister, said the communications ministry is trying to see how the country can legalize crypto “so that we can increase the youth’s uptake of cryptocurrencies,” but he noted that the financial regulation is “under the purview of Bank Negara Malaysia and the Securities Commission.”
  • El Salvador is so far the only nation that uses Bitcoin as legal tender.
  • Malaysia has not previously made clear its stance on taking crypto as legal tender, but it has been studying a central bank digital currency (CBDC) project with the Bank for International Settlements, Singapore, Australia and South Africa to test cross-border CBDC transactions.
  • “The next natural question, like any currency or any legal tender, is what can I actually buy with it? What can I do with it? What can I use it for?” Henry Chong, CEO of Malaysia-based digital securities exchange Fusang Corp., told Forkast.
  • Labuan, a mid-shore jurisdiction of Malaysia where Fusang is regulated, has licensed over 80 digital companies that are building an end-to-end digital ecosystem, according to Chong.
  • “A currency, as useful as it is to transfer value, is not in and of itself an investment, and the ability for people to use cryptocurrencies to invest into actual products, securities, etc., really unlocks a whole world of investments for retail investors,” Chong said. “The next step is to get traditional financial institutions on board.”

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