Crypto payment provider TripleA estimates that 3.1% of Malaysians – just over one million people – own cryptocurrency. The company is just one of many to refer to Malaysia as the next regional crypto hub. But, is the hype justified?

According to the cryptocurrency adoption index published by comparison platform and information service provider Finder in December 2021, Malaysia ranked 7th out of 27 countries surveyed with a crypto ownership rate of 19.9% – well above the global average of 15.5%.

The country ranked 13th with regard to positivity around cryptocurrency, with 58% of respondents saying they thought cryptocurrency was a good investment compared with the global average of 51%.

The figures from the Chainalysis 2021 geography of cryptocurrency report are somewhat less impressive, with Malaysia coming in 23rd below a number of Asian countries including Afghanistan. But this has not deterred Binance from re-entering a market it left in controversial circumstances last year.

Binance back in Malaysia

In July 2021, the Securities Commission Malaysia announced enforcement actions against Binance for illegally operating a digital asset exchange with all its entities ordered to disable the Binance website and mobile applications in Malaysia. Investors were urged to immediately cease trading through its platforms and withdraw all investments immediately.

Earlier this month, however, recognised market operator-digital asset exchange MX Global announced that it had received an equity investment from Binance. 

Binance would not comment on the potential of the Malaysian market as an Asian crypto hub beyond founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao’s reference in the press release to Malaysia’s “respected and innovative crypto and blockchain community” and MX Global had not responded to requests for comment when this article was published.

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