Malaysia’s securities commission has begun registering cryptocurrency exchanges after it started regulating the crypto space earlier this year. The first three crypto trading platform operators have been conditionally approved and given nine months to comply with registration requirements. Meanwhile, 19 crypto exchanges have been told to cease operations.
First 3 Registrants
The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) announced Tuesday that it has registered three Recognized Market Operators (RMOs) to establish and operate digital asset exchanges (DAX) in the country. Malaysia started regulating its crypto industry in January, requiring anyone interested in operating a crypto exchange to register as an RMO with the commission. According to the announcement:
The three registered DAX operators are: Luno Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Sinegy Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd, Tokenize Technology (M) Sdn Bhd. The SC has given the new RMOs up to nine months to fully comply with all regulatory requirements.
The three will become the country’s first regulated crypto exchanges once they comply with the regulatory requirements. The commission also “advises members of the public to be mindful of the risks related to trading in digital assets, including risks of trading on exchanges that are not registered with the SC.”
David Low, general manager of crypto exchange Luno’s Southeast Asian operations, confirmed that once his exchange has met the commission’s conditions, it “will become one of only three digital asset exchanges to be regulated in Malaysia, allowing investors to buy, sell and store cryptocurrencies.” Headquartered in London with regional hubs in Singapore and Cape Town, Luno entered Malaysia in 2015. The exchange claims to have close to 3 million opened wallets across over 40 countries.
19 Exchanges Must Cease Operations
The Securities Commission Malaysia has also ordered 19 crypto trading platforms to cease operations in the country and return funds and assets to investors, effective June 1. “Entities which have not been approved by the SC, including those which have previously been operating under the transitional period, are required to cease all activities immediately and return all monies and assets collected from investors,” the regulator emphasized, noting:
Operating a DAX without authorisation from the SC is an offence under securities laws … A person in breach may be liable to a fine or imprisonment term or both.
The commission maintains a regularly updated list of all approved exchange operators and those that are required to cease operations.
The 19 exchanges are Aes Signatum Berhad, Arbor Digital, B4u Exc, Belfrics Malaysia, Bitpoint Malaysia, Blokmy, Chako Global, Ezytronics (World Cloud Ventures), Finx Blockchain (Finx Capital), Getcoinapp, Gigaex, Mcp International, Mx Global, Pinkexc, Mbaex Online Pte Ltd. (Tezatech), Udax International, Upbit Malaysia, Vardiz Commerce, and Xbit Asia.
Regulation and Registration
Malaysia enacted the “Capital Markets and Services (Prescription of Securities) (Digital Currency and Digital Token) Order 2019” on Jan. 15. The SC subsequently amended its Guidelines on Recognized Markets on Jan. 31 to introduce new requirements for crypto trading platform operators.
On Jan. 15, 45 crypto exchanges were operating in the country, according to the regulator’s website. Anyone wanting to operate a crypto asset platform had to submit an application to the commission by March 1, the regulator said at the time. Twenty-one of them were ordered to cease operations on March 1.
Datuk Syed Zaid Albar, the chairman of Securities Commission Malaysia, explained that “The new framework is part of the SC’s efforts to promote innovation while ensuring investor protection in the trading of digital assets.”
Low commented on Tuesday that “The regulation will ultimately bring clarity and protection to consumers and will ensure that all cryptocurrency businesses have adequate standards in place to protect investors and their funds.”
Another country that requires crypto exchanges to register with its financial regulator is Japan. However, they have to fully satisfy all the requirements before they can be registered. So far, 19 crypto exchanges have been registered and more than 140 have expressed interest in registering, the country’s top financial regulator has told news.Bitcoin.com. In addition, the media reported last week that the G20 leaders will discuss having a crypto exchange registry.