In an interview with The Malaysian Reserve, Johari Abdul Ghanis emphasised the importance of "striking a balance between public interest and integrity of the financial system," adding that to ban cryptocurrencies would harm fintech innovation.
Johari told the news source:
"It is not the intention of the authorities to ban or put a stop on any innovation that is perceived to be beneficial to the public."
However, Johari added that Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the country's central bank, will in future ensure cryptocurrency exchanges conduct customer due diligence and report suspicious transactions.
As with any investment schemes, Johari said, "there is a need to have proper regulation and supervision to ensure any risk associated with such schemes are effectively contained."
BNM published its draft guidelines to cover cryptocurrency exchanges in December, as reported by CoinDesk.
The minister further discussed the importance of fintech innovation for Malaysia, saying it would boost economic productivity, as well as "make financial intermediation more seamless." Digital currencies and e-wallets should be included in Malaysia’s digitalisation roadmap, he added.
On a concluding note, Johari argued that it was important for authorities to have a sound understanding of cryptocurrencies before bringing in new policies and regulations.
"This is particularly relevant to recent innovation like bitcoin, which remains unregulated globally and not battle-tested against shocks, unlike more conventional mediums of exchange," he told the Reserve.
Malaysia's second finance minister has said the government will not ban the trading of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, though it will remain cautious on the technology