SC: Digital asset platform operators can operate till March 1 while awaiting guidelines

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 17): The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) said today that digital asset platform operators can operate during the transitional period until March 1, 2019, while awaiting the relevant guidelines to be issued by the regulator.

But during this period, these platform operators will not be permitted to accept new investors and will only be allowed to facilitate the withdrawal or transfer of client assets with the written instruction of the investor, the SC said in a statement.

The SC had, on Monday (Jan 14), said it would introduce the guidelines to regulate the offering and trading of digital assets, including cryptocurrencies, in accordance with the Capital Markets and Services (Prescription of Securities) (Digital Currency and Digital Token) Order 2019. The announcement was made after Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the order would come into force on Jan 15.

In today's statement, the SC said it has received numerous queries on the implementation of the order.

"In this regard, the SC has invited and engaged with existing digital asset platform operators. Arrangements have been put in place to facilitate the operations of these platforms for a transitional period until March 1, 2019, subject to them fulfilling the conditions specified by the SC," it said.

To operate beyond the transitional period, the SC said existing and prospective platform operators will be required to apply to the commission for authorisation once the relevant guidelines have been issued.

"The SC will evaluate all applications and will only authorise market operators that fulfil the relevant requirements," it said.

In the statement, the SC also advised that existing platform operators who failed to or did not attend the engagement with the SC today to contact the commission immediately and not later than Jan 25, "failing which they shall be deemed to be operating a market in breach of the securities laws".

On initial coin offerings (ICOs), the SC said it must not be conducted without its prior authorisation, and that the guidelines for ICOs will be issued by the end of the first quarter of this year.

"In the meantime, ongoing ICOs should cease all activities and return all monies or digital assets collected from investors," it added.