The governor of Malaysia's central bank would not rule out a ban on cryptocurrencies when discussing upcoming regulation yesterday.
Speaking to reporters at a financial crime conference in Kuala Lumpur, the governor of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) said it will decide "before the end of the year" whether to ban the trading of cryptocurrencies under its mandate as a domestic financial regulator.
Yet, in subsequent statements, Ibrahim hinted that Malaysia's final stance might not be so severe.
According to the Malaysian Insight, he said:
"This (ban on cryptocurrencies) is something that we will decide on by the end of the year. The guidelines that we will be issuing before the end of the year will address issues in terms of registering the players, collecting data and ensuring that whatever they do will be transparent."
Pushed for further information, Ibrahim called for patience. "Now is only October," he said. "In less than three months we will give you the details."
While it had previously stated that bitcoin would be left unregulated, BNM announced in September it would begin to create guidelines for entities working with cryptocurrencies. Last month, BNM issued an investor warning for those participating in blockchain token sales, also called initial coin offerings (ICOs).
That announcement came soon after Chinese authorities issued a statement in early September ordering an immediate halt to all token sales. Under seeming regulatory pressure, leading cryptocurrency exchanges came forward in the subsequent weeks to announce they would be voluntarily closing their doors in light of the ban.
Bank Negara Malaysia image via Shutterstock
This article has been updated for clarity.