? Southeast Asia is a dynamic region with very different approaches to crypto across countries.
While Singapore has a very specific (some would even say constraining) crypto legal framework, those who comply can profit from the overall rational attitude to crypto business.
Philippines and Thailand have very crypto conscious populations and the laws that do not impede the industry (Thailand even has in the works a special program aiming at attracting crypto nomads) ?
Indonesia‘s officials are going in the opposite direction: while crypto trading is not de facto illegal, financial firms are banned from facilitating it. Moreover, last December a Central Bank official declared that “CBDC would be part of an effort to address the use of crypto in financial transactions”, and the National Religious Council – that cryptocurrencies “don’t follow Sharia tennets and should not be used by Muslims ?
Malaysia is still figuring out its stance on crypto: while the crypto market is regulated and crypto service providers are licensed, its Finance Minister likes to reiterate that crypto isn’t money ?
He’s not the only one with opinion though: Malaysian Ministry of Communications and Multimedia has recently suggested that the country should embrace crypto, creating more comprehensive laws and even adopting it as a legal tender. All this – to “help the younger generation who are active users of the cryptocurrency”.
This was well spot-on. Over 50% of Southeast Asian population is under 30 years old. That’s not as remarkable as Africa (70%), but much more than Europe (less than 30%), and the young people’s voices are important to the politicians.
Moreover, Vietnam’s example shows how futile crypto-hostile laws can be: despite of a clear ban on crypto issuance, provision, and use as means of payment, Vietnam is the country with the highest crypto adoption rate in the world.
The Southeast Asian politicians are now facing a choice: anti-crypto to try and maintain the current financial institutions in power, or pro-crypto to try and gain young voters. Interestingly though, grassroot crypto adoption may continue progressing whatever the choice is.