Bitcoin firm BitX, which focuses on bringing bitcoin services to emerging markets, has added Malaysia to its stable of exchanges.
The new exchange, which has been operating live for two weeks now, allows Malaysians to link local bank accounts for both deposits and withdrawals in the local currency, the ringgit.
In keeping with BitX’s goal to provide local services with local staff, customer support is also available in the country’s official language, Bahasa Malaysia.
BitX CEO Marcus Swanepoel told CoinDesk that Malaysia is a “very tech savvy market”, with bitcoin trading already active at its fringes.
“[We’re] seeing some good trading activity on other platforms (LocalBitcoins, WhatsApp groups etc), so it’s always been a key target market for us.”
Offering features at scale
One existing service, btc.my, provides simple buy-sell options with withdrawals to two banks and to date has been the only bitcoin buy-sell platform available online in Malaysia.
BitX Malaysia promises to provide API access, an integrated wallet, a transparent market with full order books and limit orders, and an innovation pipeline. Users will have the usual two-factor authentication and offline ‘deep freeze’ storage for their bitcoins.
The difference is, Swanepoel added, that BitX is able to supply these features at scale, even if volumes and user numbers increase. This is the main benefit an international operation like BitX provides over smaller independent exchanges in such markets, he believes.
“Our API is great to stimulate tech innovation and entrepreneurship in Malaysia, and this is a key growth area for them. So we would like to play strong role going forward.”
The Singapore-based firm announced in April it aimed to open bitcoin exchanges in 12 emerging markets around the world, with local staff in each country.
Volumes low, awareness building
While overall trading volumes in those locations remain low, Swanepoel said, they are within BitX’s expectations and there are positive signs bitcoin awareness and acceptance in each are increasing.
Malaysian companies like electronics retailer i-Pmart and Taximonger are already accepting bitcoin and there are plenty more interested in joining in, Swanepoel said. BitX could provide value to the Malaysian market with its payment processing tools by hedging out bitcoin price volatility.
At the grassroots level, there is also plenty of bitcoin interest in Malaysia. A weekly meetup group gathers at the bitcoin-accepting Capital Nasi Dagang cafe, and there are four active chat groups on messaging app Telegram, with over 199 members.
In August, BitX announced it had sealed a SGD$1m ($824,000) seed funding deal that included Ariadne Capital, Barry Silbert’s Bitcoin Opportunity Corp (BOC) and Palo Alto-based financial innovation investor, Carol Realini.
Image courtesy of BitX