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Finance Minister puts brakes on Cryptocurrencies pending Bank Negara decision

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has put the brakes on those seeking to create cryptocurrencies, pending the final word from Bank Negara Malaysia.

The response by Malaysia’s finance minister came as intense debate rages over the Harapan Coin which has been dubbed the first political fundraising platform in the world to use blockchain technology. During Monday’s parliamentary debate an MP again raised the issue saying the Harapan project had generated hundreds of U.S. dollars despite not having received the approval of BNM.

“We need to be cautious as Bank Negara is the authority that handles and manages all forms of new currency technology. “This is where I wish to advise all parties, no matter who they are, intending to issue bitcoins or cryptocurrency, that they must refer to Bank Negara which is the authority that will have the final say on this new form of currency,” Lim said when answering a question by Datin Paduka Dr Tan Yee Kew (PH-Wangsa Maju) in Parliament on Monday (Nov 26).

Noting that the government was not against new currency forms, Lim insisted that existing laws would have to be followed. “Don’t do it without Bank Negara’s guidelines or directive on the matter to avoid doing something wrong and against the law,” added Lim.

Later, during debates at the committee stage on Budget 2019, Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) asked about the status of the “Harapan Coin” cryptocurrency, saying there were reports that it has been sold through Harapancoin.com. “Although it is a new initiative and has yet to get approval, it was reported that the coin is being traded at US$45 for 100 units and has since collected US$772,” he said.

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