What is Bitcoin ?
Bitcoin is a new-era digital Internet money in global payment system. Bitcoin was first introduced in 2009 by Satoshi Nakomoto. Challenging in high-developed technology bring this money system to one of the digital currency. It is because people nowadays prefer everything in digital and people don’t like to wait. The simple way to describe Bitcoin is ‘internet currency’. The internet as a country and bitcoins can be sent anywhere without geographical borders. Because it’s not bound by a country, people can effectively use it anywhere globally (online and offline), as long as they have access to it.
An example of Bitcoin as a global payment system is, sending money to friend in Australia, just as easy way. Go online to a website, send some Bitcoins, and receive confirmation in about one or two minutes. Compare this to going to Maybank or other Banks, for instance, it will take about 24 to 48 hours to clear.
Bitcoin status in Malaysia
In Malaysia, the legality of bitcoin can be debated. On 2nd January 2017, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) stated that Bitcoin is not recognised as legal tender in Malaysia. However it did not forbade the usage and owning Bitcoin in Malaysia. The Central Bank does not regulate the operations of Bitcoin. The public is therefore advised to be cautious of the risks associated with the usage of such digital currency. The risk is seen that savings could be wiped out if the exchange is hacked or runs into financial troubles.
There are many ways Bitcoin can use, either keep as investment, use it to pay products and services, payments for shopping, use it as a method to send money, like an international money transfer of sorts, and send it via the internet or can be used for donation. Some happened when Visa and PayPal refused to become payment method for Wikileaks donations, they asked people to give bitcoins instead.
There are two (2) ways to get Bitcoin in Malaysia; mining and buying. Mining need an expensive equipment to start, not easy to get the profit as fast. The competition in mining Bitcoin also very challenging especially among Chinese miners. ONE Bitcoin mining machine costs thousands of ringgit, and also have to pay for electricity on top of that. Chinese miners have dedicated factories filled with thousands of these equipment while they have cheap (or free) electricity.
Otherwise, the fastest, is to buy Bitcoin. In this way, ask people to donate, or accept it as payment for the products/services you sell, or work for it. However, please consider the risks – Bitcoin is considered a high-risk investment, the value rises and falls randomly. Bitcoin transactions are not reversible. While the security in virtual transaction is a must because there are plenty of scammers. The most important is to manage where Bitcoin will be stored – hardware Bitcoin wallet.
A check by Sunday Star shows that in Malaysia, there are at least 12 local Bitcoin-related groups on Facebook, including Malaybtc Bitcoin, Bitcoin Malaysia #1 Group, Bitcoin Malaysia Open Group, Bitcoin Malaysia (Trader), Cryptocurrency Malaysia (Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin, etc) and Malaysia Bitcom Info.
According to reports, there has been an increase in demand for the digital currency in Malaysia followed by the weakening Malaysian Ringgits. In July 2016, LocalBitcoins in Malaysia is said to have registered an all-time highest trade volume of over 737,218 Ringgits worth of Bitcoin, which is roughly around $182,000. The increased demand for Bitcoin among the Malaysians has led to reduced confidence in the country’s legal tender- Ringgit among the investors. The fall of Ringgit value, in addition to falling oil prices, has had a considerable impact on the country’s economy. This has driven investors to look into alternative investment options, including Bitcoin in the recent days.