Securities Commission to weed out virtual scams
KUALA LUMPUR: All companies engaging in digital assets will have to make themselves known to the Securities Commission (SC) by Friday, even if they have decided not to carry on once the regulatory framework comes into force.
This includes operators who are not registered with Bank Negara under the anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism – digital currencies (sector six) and those operating “underground”.
The SC will reserve the right to take action against those who fail to identify themselves by Friday on grounds of breaching the securities law.
SC innovation, digital and strategy executive director Chin Wei Min said those who have identified themselves to the commission can operate up to March 1.
“The reason we also allow people to continue with their withdrawals and sell down is to ensure that there is an orderly market.
“The last thing we want is to cause confusion, and hopefully, there are no untoward fraudulent activities that people will capitalise on in this transition period and take advantage of investors,” he told a media briefing here yesterday.
While the regulation does not affect operators who are not incorporated in Malaysia, the SC can still take action against them under the Capital Markets and Services Act 2007 if the products are marketed, sold, or its operations exist in Malaysia.
Operators who identify themselves to the SC must state their intent, whether they want to resume their activities, of which certain obligations have to be met, or whether they want to wind down their business.
The SC will put up a list of operators and companies that have registered and received a letter from the commission for investors to check if their monies are with legitimate sources.
Chin also reiterated that operators are not allowed to accept new investors, list new products or conduct any sales and marketing activities during this period.
A statement by the SC last Thursday said platform operators would not be allowed to accept new investors and are only allowed to facilitate the withdrawal or transfer of client assets with the written instruction of investors.
They are also not allowed to conduct any initial coin offerings (ICOs) without prior authorisation.
Chin called on all ongoing ICOs to cease activities and the monies or digital assets to be returned to investors until the operators apply for authorisation and after they understand the SC requirements.
The guidelines are expected to be released by the end of the first quarter this year.
“If you are looking at the ones that are out there currently, the standards of the white paper are of low quality. It is important that this falls under regulated activity.
“We recognise that this is an alternative fundraising avenue. The idea here is to allow us to take out all the scams and fraudulent activities and at the same time, provide a platform for our early stage entrepreneurs to raise money,” said Chin, adding that the SC did not want people to take advantage of this as investors are pumping in money on the other end.
This is a high-risk investment and Chin also hinted that there could be a certain threshold for investors.
The Capital Markets and Services (prescription of securities) (digital currency and digital token) order 2019, which kicked in last Tuesday, will see those operating unauthorised ICOs or digital asset exchanges facing up to a 10-year jail term and up to a RM10mil fine.
The Finance Ministry said it viewed digital assets as well as its underlying blockchain technologies as having the potential to bring about innovation in both old and new industries.