Malaysian comms official calls the state to legalize crypto and NFTs

Malaysia’s finance minister previously warned that crypto payments were illegal as they did not meet the universal characteristics of money.

The Malaysian Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM) is reportedly backing the adoption of cryptocurrencies, with the deputy minister calling the government to legalize crypto.

Deputy communications and multimedia minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin has urged Malaysia’s regulators to legalize certain use cases of cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens (NFT), local news agency Harian Metro reported on Monday.

Zahidi pointed out that such measures would significantly support young people as the cryptocurrency industry has been growing increasingly popular among the younger generation. He also said that the KKMM is exploring ways to increase the participation of young people in the industry.

The deputy minister noted that the decision on crypto regulation is up to Malaysia’s financial regulators, including the central bank and the Securities Commission Malaysia.

However, the ministry is willing to bring this issue up because the crypto industry is the “business and financial program of the future, especially for young people now,” Zahidi said, adding:

“We hope the government can try to legalize this matter so that we can expand the participation of young people in cryptocurrencies and help them in terms of energy consumption and so on.”

According to some sources, Zahidi proposed not just legalizing certain cryptocurrency transactions in Malaysia but rather adopting cryptocurrency as legal tender.

The KKMM officials did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment. This article will be updated pending new information.

In early March, Malaysia’s finance minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz reiterated that payments in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) were illegal in the country as cryptocurrencies did not meet the universal characteristics of money.

Related: Binance back in Malaysia via a strategic stake in regulated digital exchange

“In general, digital assets are not a good store of value and a medium of exchange. This is due to the fact that digital assets are vulnerable to volatile price fluctuations due to speculative investments, the risk of theft due to cyber threats and lack of scalability,” he said.

The minister added that Bank Negara Malaysia was working on potentially introducing a central bank digital currency and blockchain-related developments to respond to the growing trend in the digital asset industry.

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