Consult BNM before issuing digital currency

Central bank’s clearance is needed before any scheme is opened to the public, says Lim


Any party that plans to introduce new digital currencies should seek guidance from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) before officially launching the schemes.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (picture) said since the central bank has the final say on matters pertaining to digital currencies, its clearance is needed before any scheme is opened to the public.

“We have to be (cautious) on digital currency because BNM is still conducting a thorough study on this matter,” he told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Lim was responding to MP Datin Dr Tan Yee Kew (Pakatan Harapan-Wangsa Maju) who asked a supplementary question whether the government would introduce a new authority to oversee digital currency operations in Malaysia.

“There have been a few parties attempting to introduce their own digital currency mechanism. I hereby advise all of them, regardless (of) whoever they are, to refer this matter back to BNM to avoid causing any problem.

“Because today BNM is the enforcement body which has the final say on our country’s financial mechanism, don’t do something without adhering to the existing guidelines or instructions from the central bank,” he added.

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad recently has mooted Harapan Coin — purportedly the world’s first political fundraising platform utilising cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

Harapan Coin was implemented for the survival of Pakatan Harapan in the 14th General Election. Khalid was one of the founders.

On its website, Harapan Coin told its supporters that the currency — denoted as HRP — has the “potential to become an official currency if Pakatan Harapan wins election”.

It sells a minimum of 100 HRP at the rate of US$45 or approximately RM182.

Meanwhile, in February, BNM finalised its guidelines which outline the reporting obligations for cryptocurrency exchanges. At least nine exchanges have registered.

The then BNM governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim said the central bank still did not authorise or endorse cryptocurrency-related activities.

Cryptocurrencies are still not recognised as a legal tender, he said.