Malaysia’s Securities Commission sets guidelines for ICOs, IEOs

Because of the myriad of problems associated with initial coin offerings (ICOs) over the past several years, and the millions of dollars that were lost in the process, financial regulators are taking a stronger look at controlling what is and isn’t allowed with the activity. In the U.S., the Securities and Exchange Commission just released an update on ICOs and a warning on initial exchange offerings (IEO), and Malaysia is now updating its guidance, as well. Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) published its own set of rules for the cryptocurrency space Wednesday. 

The new rules are to be viewed in tandem with existing financial guidelines, meaning that they’re not meant to be all-inclusive, and additional laws and regulations will apply, as well. To offer a token sale on an IEO platform, there is now a cap of $24.5 million in place, but any type of investor—retail, angle, institutional—can participate. Before the sale begins, however, the entity has to register with the SC; failure to do so could result in legal and financial repercussions. The IEO must register, as well.

The guidelines are meant, just as is the case with all regulations, to clean up the activity and protect consumers.

Datuk Syed Zaid Albar, the chair of the SC, explains, “Digital tokens offering can provide another alternative fundraising avenue for early-stage entrepreneurs. This initiative supports Malaysia’s Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 (SPV2030) by supporting the growth of SMEs and micro businesses which are targeted to contribute 50% to Malaysia’s GDP. It also aligned with SPV2030’s aspiration to create 30% high technology Malaysian companies.”

No token sale will be allowed by any entity unless presented with an accompanying whitepaper, which must be given to both the IEO and the SC. The document has to state who is involved in the project and their roles, the objective of the offering, the characteristics of the token, the sustainability of the project, the amount sought in the offering, a business plan and other key indicators to gauge the validity of the project. All projects must be operated by entities duly registered in Malaysia.

The new framework is expected to be fully implemented during the second half of this year, but the SC doesn’t expect everyone to wait until then to start adhering to the policies. The commission will begin to roll out the strategy soon and will work with platform operators to ensure that they understand and accurately follow the new procedures.

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