In another sign that bitcoin awareness is spreading in Southeast Asia, Malaysia now has at least one restaurant accepting the digital currency.
The restaurant, which serves Malaysian specialities, is called Nasi Dagang Capital and can be found in the Damansara Uptown district of Malaysia's largest city, Kuala Lumpur.
Business acceptance across the region has been slow to pick up, mainly due to lack of media attention and knowledge of bitcoin's benefits among merchants, but that may be slowly changing.
As is the case in many other cities, the eatery is the regular venue for KL's weekly bitcoin meetups and the proprietor was convinced to accept bitcoin by enthusiastic participants.
Locally produced payment apps
Available for Android devices in the Google Play store, Bitcoin POS (also known as Bitcoin Terminal) is a point-of-sale app that processes bitcoin payments and deposits local currency into a bank account.
The software calculates total bitcoin payments for one business day and desposits that amount into the merchant's bank account the following morning.
"A guy on the street selling some hotdog can use the app to accept bitcoin, essentially we are the Square of Malaysia that receives bitcoin to cash," said Arsyan.
Despite low acceptance among local businesses, Malaysia has been fortunate with bitcoin so far. It has an active and tech-educated grassroots community, and an online chat group with hundreds of members using the mobile app KakaoTalk to discuss and coordinate trades.
The local advocacy group Bitcoin Malaysia is hard at work, developing ways to get as much bitcoin into local hands as possible via the exchange CryptoMarket.my and low-denomination preloaded scratch cards it sells on its website.
Furthermore, BitX recently expanded its secure wallet service internationally, and plans to launch a full-blown local exchange in 12 emerging markets including Malaysia. Plus, the country can boast two working bitcoin ATMs from Southeast Asian manufacturer Numoni.
Regulatory attitudes in Malaysia are quite liberal and mainly in tune with next-door neighbour Singapore. The Malaysian central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia, announced in January that it did not consider bitcoin to be legal tender, and thus would not seek to regulate its use at all.
Images courtesy CryptoMarket.my