In our series of articles on how to buy bitcoin in Asia, we will first take a look at how to buy bitcoin in Malaysia. Bitcoin (BTC Price is at RM799 at time of writing) has historically been rather difficult to obtain in Malaysia and there was large friction in getting hold of this cryptocurrency. Thankfully with the opening of a couple new exchanges in 2014, the process is now much easier. This article will give a high-level introduction on where you can buy bitcoin in Malaysia.
Luno (previously known as BitX) is one of the latest exchanges to offer bitcoin trading services despite having its headquarters in Singapore. Founded by Marcus Swanepoel in January 2013, Luno focuses on emerging markets such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nigeria and South Africa. In July 2015, Luno raised a US$4 million Series A funding round from Naspers, a South African media conglomerate and Digital Currency Group. In December 2015, Luno raised a further funding round from Venturra Capital, a South East Asian focused VC firm. Luno also has slick iOS and Android apps for users.
Remitano is a peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplace where users can buy or sell bitcoin with each others. Remitano is incorporated in Seychelles and is operational in the United States, Australia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Vietnam, Cambodia and China. Remitano provides an added level of protection by acting as an escrow for each trade. When a buyer wants to purchase bitcoin from a seller, the bitcoin is transferred from the seller's wallet and is held by Remitano until the trade is completed. If there is any dispute, Remitano's support team will mediate based on evidences provided by each side.
Localbitcoins is not an exchange but a marketplace where buyers and sellers can meet online or in person to trade bitcoin. Its importance as a place to buy bitcoin should not be misplaced. It is useful as a place for people to purchase their first bitcoin without going through much KYC (Know-Your-Customer) procedures as customarily required by exchanges. Trading on Localbitcoins is generally more risky so be careful and only buy from traders with good reviews.
CoinHako is the first Bitcoin startup in Asia to be picked by Silicon Valley-based incubator Boost VC. Founded by Yusho Liu and Gerry Eng, CoinHako has been called “the best company coming out of Singapore” by Adam Draper, CEO of Boost VC. Recently, CoinHako expanded their operations to Malaysia. CoinHako is a bitcoin broker and makes it really simple to trade bitcoins with only a few clicks to buy or sell bitcoins. There is no bid/ask spread or order matching to manage on CoinHako. CoinHako charges a 1.9% commission fee for each trade. Use the COINGECKO promo code to get discounted trading fees of 0.7%.
CoinBox is a Malaysia-based Bitcoin exchange that started operations in October 2014. Operating under the company name Extra Trade Sdn Bhd (1109708-H) with a registered address in KL Sentral, it offers live chat agents for customers with any support issues. There are no trading fees on Coinbox but withdrawals in Malaysian Ringgit are charged at 1%. Ringgit deposits are processed automatically and usually within minutes. Withdrawals are processed several times daily and are completed within the same day. CoinBox operates 24/7 including weekends and public holidays.
btc.my is headed local Bitcoin entrepreneur, Arsyan Ismail through his company 1337 Tech Sdn. Bhd. Arsyan, who is also the founder of cryptomarket.my has his hands full on several Bitcoin initiatives in Malaysia. Some of his other projects include a Bitcoin Point-of-Sale terminal, Bitcoin ScratchCard and also a Bitcoin bill payment system for the Malaysian market. According to Arsyan, the biggest challenge to Bitcoin acceptance in Malaysia is that most people still find it very hard to understand the concept.
Wirex is a London-based startup that market itself as a ‘hybrid personal banking platform’ which enables its users to combine the speed and flexibility of bitcoin with the acceptance of US Dollar, British Pound and/or Euro into everyday finances. Previously known as E-Coin, a leading bitcoin debit card provider, Wirex supports ‘buy bitcoin’ feature to many countries around the world including Malaysia. Malaysians can buy bitcoin through PayPal, Bank Transfer and APMs (Alternative Payment Methods). Besides the ability to buy and spend bitcoin easily with the Visa/MasterCard-linked bitcoin debit card, the platform also integrates advanced mobile banking and instant remittance services. You may follow the step-by-step tutorial to learn more. Also, do read our review of Wirex.