Hope Coin: The Story of Malaysias Crypto Political Fundraising Platform

Hope Coin: The Story of Malaysias Crypto Political Fundraising Platform

The ongoing controversy surrounding Malaysias proposed political cryptocurrency, Harapan Coin, is far from letting up. On Nov. 26, the countrys finance minister, Lim Guan Eng, weighed in on the issue by reiterating that any entity looking to issue a cryptocurrency should first refer to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and the Securities Commission:

Dont do it without Bank Negaras guidelines or directive on the matter to avoid doing something wrong and against the law.

During the same press conference, Lim Guan Eng also said that he had asked a government official — who has recently made a series of statements in support of the project — to tone down the promotional campaign until the financial authorities comes up with a coherent regulatory framework. The turbulence around the proposed asset, which is touted by its creators as the world's first political fundraising platform, has been heightening throughout the last few weeks, as many of Malaysias prominent political actors voiced their doubts and concerns with regard to the project. Meanwhile, many aspects of Harapan Coins provenance and functionality remain opaque to the public.

Backstory

Since the proclamation of Malaya's independence in 1957 and until May 2018, a single political power — a coalition called Barisan Nasional (BN) — has been at the helm of the countrys government. Its three major member organizations represent Malaysias dominant ethnic groups: UMNO (United Malays National Organisation) is a party of the Malay majority, while Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) and Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) are the political bodies of the countrys Indian and Chinese communities, respectively.

The last decade saw BNs political dominance erode, due in no small way to a series of devastating financial and political scandals that shook the highest tiers of the government.

Perhaps the most notorious of those is the still ongoing 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal. In 2015, it was revealed that, as a result of a large-scale, multi-year embezzlement scheme, hundreds of millions of dollars have been siphoned off from the state-owned investment fund 1MBD into bank accounts associated with Prime Minister Najib Razak of Barisan Nasional.

Egregious as it is, this embarrassing episode of high-ranking officials abusing public funds is anything but unusual for Malaysias recent history. Before 1MDB, there was the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM)

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Tags: Malaysia, Coin, Pakatan Harapan, Politics, Barisan Nasional, Lim Guan Eng, Fundraising, Bank Negara Malaysia, United Malays National Organisation, Najib Razak