China and Malaysia discuss Asian Monetary Fund

In recent years, a number of Asian countries have shown an interest in distancing themselves from the United States dollar and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), both of which have long had a preponderant position in the international monetary system. One of these nations is Malaysia, and the Malaysian central bank has been collaborating with the People’s Bank of China to facilitate trading in both of their countries’ respective currencies.

Anwar Ibrahim, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, made the announcement on April 4 that China was willing to consider the possibility of establishing an Asian Monetary Fund. The concept of such a fund was discussed during a meeting that took place the week before in Hainan, which is located in China.

The proposed fund will assist Asian countries in reducing their reliance on the United States currency and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This action is being seen as a reaction to worries about the economic hegemony of the United States and the dangers connected with the use of the dollar as the reserve currency of the world.

Reportedly welcoming negotiations on the plan, which may pave the way for a more autonomous Asian financial system, China’s President Xi Jinping is said to have shown enthusiasm about the topic. The establishment of an Asian Monetary Fund has the ability to make available financial resources for the region’s infrastructure development projects, therefore fostering economic expansion.

In recent years, there has been a discernible uptick in the momentum around the movement toward a stronger role for Asian currencies in international commerce. In March, China and Brazil reached an agreement to conduct commerce exclusively in their own national currencies, so fully excluding the use of the US Dollar.

The Asian Monetary Fund that is being suggested is not the first effort that has been made to establish a regional financial organization. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) was founded in 1966 with the purpose of fostering economic growth and alleviating poverty across the region. On the other hand, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has come under fire for being controlled by the United States and Japan and for having a limited effect in tackling the economic difficulties facing the area.

In conclusion, the proposed establishment of an Asian Monetary Fund is a major step forward in the continuing transition away from the predominance of the United States dollar in the international monetary system. Even though the creation of such a fund would be met with a number of obstacles, there is a possibility that it would provide a method of fostering more monetary autonomy and stability across the Asian area.


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Malaysian Universities to Expand Women’s Blockchain Knowledge Base with Programmers Course

Women in Blockchain Asia (WIBA) has partnered with various Malaysian universities to propel the number of female blockchain developers and coders in Malaysia.


Through the partnership, the women-centric blockchain programmers course will be offered by seven Malaysian universities, including Raffles College of Higher Education, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan, Asia Pacific University, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman.


Ivy Fung, a founding WIBA member, pointed out:

“This is the first-ever initiative in Malaysia focused on increasing the number of female blockchain builders in Malaysia, and we are excited by the response we have had thus far. The programme will involve online tutorials and discussions, followed by an intervarsity hackathon at the end of the course.” 

The course has attracted approximately 150 students, with the application scheduled to close on September 4. 


Based on WIBA’s objective of propelling the participation and role of women in all digitization levels and blockchain comprehension, the non-profit group has also collaborated with the Algorand Foundation and REACH.


The Algorand Foundation strives to create a frictionless and borderless economy on decentralized and public blockchain technology. As a result, it’s focused on educating and engaging its community.


Ida Mok, WIBA president, stated:

“Since our launch in May, we have been busy creating linkages domestically in Malaysia and regionally to further the cause of increasing the participation of women in blockchain technology. Collectively we believe the future is in our younger generation; hence this initiative is our first.”

Meanwhile, a study by global market researcher Appinio and mobile crypto wallet Valora revealed that crypto was no longer a men’s club as more women entered the space, Blockchain.News reported.  

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Kenanga Investment Bank Collaborates with Ant Group to Launch Crypto-based Applications

Kenanga Investment Bank Berhad, a major investment bank in Malaysia, on Wednesday announced its plans to launch a crypto-friendly wallet and trading application. Reportedly, it is planning to launch the app in early 2023.

Kenanga said it has partnered with China’s tech giant Ant Group to enable the launch of Malaysia’s first “SuperApp,” which will include crypto trading, e-wallets and portfolio management.

Ant Group is a major China-based fintech firm that develops online payment platforms – it is the company that owns the world’s largest mobile payment platform Alipay.

Kenanga has signed an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with Ant to jointly create Malaysia’s wealth application known as a super app.

Based on the terms of the deal, Ant’s digital technology unit will provide Kenanga with mPaaS, a mobile development platform originating from AliPay App.

The super app is designed to revolutionize how consumers manage wealth in Malaysia by integrating diverse financial services like a digital wallet, stock trading, crypto trading, foreign currency exchange, digital investment management, and others into a single platform accessible to users online.

Kenanga is reportedly planning to launch the app in early 2023.

Datuk Chay Wai Leong, Kenanga Group managing director, talked about the development: “We look forward to not only unifying a broad spectrum of financial offerings under one roof. But more importantly, to make wealth creation more accessible by democratizing financial services for the millions of Malaysians.”

Leong said Kenanga began experimenting with digital financial services five years ago. Launching the new application would therefore bring the company’s growth to the next level.

Kenanga has been an active player in the crypto industry. In February last year, the bank invested in digital asset exchange (DAX) operator Tokenize Technology M (Tokenize Malaysia) to accelerate the buyers’ digital agenda. Tokenize Malaysia operates Tokenize Xchange, which allows trading cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

In April 2016, Kenanga partnered with the crypto-friendly Japanese retailer Rakuten and therefore launched Malaysia’s local online stock trading platform Rakuten Trade which currently allows customers to invest in Malaysia stocks.

Promoting Financial Inclusion

Over the past year, cryptocurrency adoption in Malaysia has significantly grown, with about RM21 billion (USD$4.68 billion) in digital assets traded in the country in 2021. According to the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC), the agency responsible for oversight and regulation of the Malaysian financial services industry.

Although 55% of the country’s adult population is still underbanked and unbanked, 18% of adult Malaysians own cryptocurrencies, ahead of the global ownership average.

It is not hard to see the popularity of digital assets, especially among the more tech-savvy. Digital currencies provide the financially underserved with access to the financial and credit services they need.

This explains the reason why major local banks like Kenanga are moving into cryptocurrency trading as part of default banking offerings.

With the mobile app, Kenanga is set to enable consumers to easily start crypto and other investment trading in a real-time and borderless manner via the super mobile app.

Such ease-of-use combined with the promise of massive gains, more equitable distribution of assets, and the low fees involved in opening and trading such investment assets, is very appealing.

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Malaysian Communications Minister to Propose Crypto Legalization

Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin, the deputy minister of the Malaysian Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, is rallying the government to legalise cryptocurrencies to benefit the tech and crypto-savvy population.


The comments from the deputy minister to legalise cryptocurrencies were made on the floor of the Dewan Rakyat, the lower chamber of the Malaysian parliament, and in response to the question from Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh (Ledang-PH), who seeks to know the government’s stand on trading on NFT platforms.

According to Datuk, avenues will be explored to help boost the youth’s involvement in digital currencies, which he considered largely the future of finance.

“All of these are under the purview of Bank Negara Malaysia and the Securities Commission,” Datuk said. Talking about the bodies tasked with the powers to make his recommendations come to pass, “we hope the government will allow and legalise this so that we can increase the youth’s uptake of cryptocurrencies.”

Malaysia is a very historic country when it comes to developing the digital currency ecosystem. As far back as October 2019, British banking giant HSBC announced the successful execution of a pilot live blockchain letter of credit (LC) transaction in Malaysia. Despite being an Islamic state where there are a lot of reservations on the trading of digital currencies, the country started permitting crypto assets trading back in July 2020.

The country has since been active in bringing functional regulations to the digital currency ecosystem. Besides extending crypto regulations to crypto-assets wallet service providers, trading platforms like Binance have been on the country’s radar for allegedly trading without securing the appropriate permissions or licenses.

With the advocacy for the legalisation of digital assets coming from a top government official, it will not come as a surprise if Malaysia chooses to trail the footsteps of El Salvador and Ukraine, both of whom have legalised Bitcoin (BTC) trading on their shores.

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Malaysia’s Central Bank actively assessing CBDC options

Malaysia has joined the growing cadre of nations that are exploring the value of researching and developing a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Malaysia’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia, stated to Bloomberg on Jan. 17 that while a decision about exactly how to move forward with a CBDC has not yet been determined, it has focused research on a CBDC “via proof-of-concept and experimentation to enhance our technical and policy capabilities.”

It also stated that the ostensible reason for the current research effort was to ensure it is prepared to launch a CBDC program “should the need to issue CBDC arise in the future.”

In 2021, Malaysia collaborated with South Africa, Australia, and Southeast Asian neighbor Singapore to develop a proof-of-concept CBDC pilot called Project Dunbar, according to a joint announcement.

Project Dunbar utilized the Corda and Quorum blockchain platforms from r3 and ConsenSys respectively to demonstrate various capabilities of blockchain-based cross-border remittances. Most notably, it aimed to demonstrate how blockchain technology could “eliminate the need for intermediaries and cut the time and cost of transactions.”

An increasing number of nations are researching how a CBDC program would operate in their jurisdiction. China is by far the largest nation currently executing a CBDC pilot program, dubbed the Digital Yuan, and the mobile app already has over 20 million downloads since Jan. 4. China plans to launch the program and allow international visitors to access Digital Yuan with their passports during the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing next month.

Related: CBDCs and stablecoins: EY advises banks to ‘prepare for what’s coming’

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) rolled out its finalized CBDC called the “EC dollar” in Mar. 2021. As of Dec. 2021, Antigua was the last of eight jurisdictions in the ECCB to not have adopted the EC dollar. Nearby Jamaica also plans on launching a finalized CBDC by Q1 2022 following the successful pilot program which concluded two weeks ago.