SC directs CopyCash to cease activities in M’sia

The statutory body advises investors to be cautious and diligent before participating in ICO schemes

By MARK RAO / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

CopyCash Foundation has been directed by the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) to cease its planned initial coin offering (ICO) in Malaysia, due to the trading platform violating in-place regulations.

The SC said it directed the Singapore-based blockchain to immediately cease and desist all activities including the planned launch of its CopyCashCoin ICO in Malaysia today.

“This directive covers all activities that are described in or incidental to CopyCash’s white paper pursuant to the ICO, including any roadshows, seminars or promotional events related to the scheme,” noted the regulatory body in a statement yesterday.

“The directive was issued by the SC, following its inquiry after it found that there is a reasonable likelihood that disclosures in CopyCash’s white paper and representations to potential investors will contravene relevant requirements under securities laws.”

It advised investors to be cautious and diligent before participating in ICO schemes.

“While the SC continues to facilitate use cases of digital assets in the capital market, it remains vigilant in monitoring ICO schemes — given the heightened risks — and will not hesitate to take action when and where necessary.”

The statutory body under the purview of the Ministry of Finance announced last Friday that it will be calling in Copy- Cash’s key officers to examine the foundation’s activities in Malaysia, which include the proposed ICO launch.

The foundation was unavailable for comment after it cancelled its ICO media launch yesterday.

The social trading platform based on the ethereum blockchain is part of the rapidly growing digital currency trading industry — which includes cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin — that is challenging traditional financial institutions across the globe.

According to the foundation, the cryptocurrency market has been registering an annual growth of 150% in trade volume over the last several years, while retaining a market capitalisation of over US$207 billion (RM830.07 billion) as of Nov 14 last year.

CopyCash intends to release 50 million units via its internal token CopyCashCoin — a standard Ethereum ERC20 token — in the market.

The planned launch of the digital currency would not have been the first ICO to be introduced in the country, as The Malaysian Reserve reported on Monday that Malaysian- based ICOs Ecobit and HelloGold are presently operating in the market.

The report noted that Ecobit is a carbon credit project based on Climate Protector Contract, and has since been redflagged by the monetary authority and placed under financial consumer alert.

HelloGold, on the other hand, is a Shariah-compliant digital application launched last August that allows investors to buy, sell and hold gold online.

Ecobit and HelloGold have market capitalisations of US$65.74 million and US$15.38 million respectively, according to coinmarketcap.com.

Bank Negara Malaysia is currently proposing to include digital currency exchanges within the ambit of Anti- Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 to manage risks, as opposed to imposing a blanket ban on the digital currencies trading.