How to Buy Cryptocurrencies in Malaysia [2020 Guide]

GO BACK if you (1) don’t have at least 3 6 12 months’ worth of expenses in savings (where to save money), and (2) not good and not willing to learn about digital security. I’m dead serious, GO BACK. Cryptocurrencies as an investment is NOT suitable for you right now. You’re entering the high risk, high rewards zone.

Alright, full disclosure time – I am a crypto investor, since end of 2015. Why? Sure, there are people who buy cryptocurrencies for their utility, but let’s face it, most people get into it for the profit potential, including myself. The value is driven by supply and demand and purely speculative in nature.

In case that isn’t clear, I’ll repeat: (1) I’m biased because I’m a crypto investor, and (2) cryptocurrencies is a speculative investment.

Still here? Good, alright let’s move on from the disclaimers and get into the actual how-to. This is a good place to mention that my previous crypto-related articles (this one and this one for example) are now severely outdated, but I’ll keep them published so you can see how the crypto world looked like circa 2016-2018.

How to Buy Cryptocurrencies in Malaysia
Special thanks to Kristian for pushing for 2020 guide. Took 6 months hahaha

The biggest change, IMO, is the fact that cryptocurrencies are way less ‘currencies’ nowadays and more ‘digital assets’. Except in specific situations (donating, surviving in a dictatorship regime etc), most people don’t use it as payment, but more as a store of value. Digital gold of sorts.

How to Buy Cryptocurrencies in Malaysia – List of Approved Exchanges

As of 2019, Securities Commissions have approved 3 exchanges to open shop in Malaysia: Luno, SINEGY and Tokenize. You can now LEGALLY buy and sell 4 types of cryptocurrencies in Malaysia:

  • Bitcoin (BTC) – the OG
  • Ethereum (ETH) – programmers and people interested in DeFi – Decentralised Finance – should check out this one
  • Litecoin (LTC) – kinda like budget version of bitcoin (oop I said it)
  • Ripple (XRP) – Ripple is actually a private and CENTRALISED company, which means crypto purists hate it. Holding XRP is kinda sorta like holding stocks in a remittance service provider

If you want any other digital assets, then first buy bitcoin then transfer to other exchanges which offer the asset you want. Why BTC? Because BTC usually has the most pairing. Which exchange? I like Binance.

I can’t stress how much regulation of crypto exchangers in Malaysia was a big deal to the community – I heard over a dozen exchangers applied for the licence to operate but couldn’t meet SC’s stringent requirements, and the negotiation process itself took years so only the most stubborn persistent survived.

Here are each of their platforms – check out the interface, the buy/sell price (where available) and the fees before you decide on one. The screenshots are taken on the same day so you can roughly know each platform’s pricing.

Luno

Luno offers the following cryptocurrencies:

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Litecoin
  • Ripple

Check here for their fees.

Of the three options, I’ve used Luno the longest, and had good experience. I may have made my first bitcoin from them too!

Obligatory referral code: Click here to get extra RM25 in bitcoin when you use my code ‘7FA6G’

SINEGY

Malaysia’s homegrown exchange! Woo!

SINEGY offers the following cryptocurrencies:

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Ripple

Check here for their fees.

Tokenize

I like that Tokenize displays sell price on the front page as well. The difference between buy and sell (ie margin) is important.

Tokenize offers the following cryptocurrencies:

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Ripple

Check here for their fees.

Obligatory referral code: Click here to get 15 Tokenize Points when you sign up with my link. The points are exchangeable for digital assets offered in Tokenize.

How to not get scammed when you buy cryptocurrencies in Malaysia

Rule #1 – ALWAYS check if you’re buying from the right platform

Check for https, check spelling of URL and social media profiles, check everything.

How to Buy Cryptocurrencies in Malaysia
as taken from SINEGY’s FB page

Rule #2 – Buy from those 3 platforms

understand you might want to look around other ways to try and buy cryptocurrencies in Malaysia for cheaper, and yes it’s possible, but you’re taking an unnecessary risk, especially if you’re new in all this.

One – P2P platforms like Remitano and Localbitcoin is rife with scammers.

Two – direct dealing is hella dangerous. If anyone ever contact you to buy or sell, just ignore and block them.

I’m not even joking about the ‘holding a gun to my head’ part. Crypto robberies happen. This fella was tortured with a drill in front of his 4-year old daughter.

Just pay the exchangers’ fees. You’ll be safer.

Rule #3 – Keep your crypto in multiple places

If you have ‘a lot’ (define yourself what constitutes ‘a lot’), then I highly recommend you to distribute your stash around and not keep your cryptocurrencies in one location/wallet. Why?

  • You might get hacked. Remember, transactions are not reversible and aside from a police report, there’s nothing much you can do. Reminder to set up your 2FA if you haven’t.
  • The exchange might get hacked OR suffer insider theft. It’s happened to many reputable exchangers before (not in Malaysia AFAIK tho)
  • Even if you keep all your stash yourself via cold storage methods like paper wallets or hardware wallets (I use Ledger Nano S; RM500ish per device), *you* might forget your passcode or seed address
  • (Bonus) You get hands-on learning! Exploring the cryptocurrency world is fun! Skin in the game baby
  • (Bonus) You might even get random airdropped coins. This is the weirdest form of passive income that I have – just keep in there and later when check, find out I have additional digital assets. I assume they’re given out for marketing purposes but who knows.

Rule #4 – Join a community

The longest-running bitcoin community in Malaysia, Bitcoin Malaysia #1 Group encourages discussions and sharing, and organises free (and some paid) webinars and events. Feel free to ask questions, usually people are kind enough to answer. Check the latest happenings here.

You can also type ‘scam’, ‘scammer’ etc in the search box and see other types of seasonal and creative scam methods. Important: Holding cryptocurrencies is a commitment – you have to keep updated with the latest scam methods.

Rule #5 – Be a hodler not a trader

Hodlers (the misspelling is intentional) are people who buy – either little by little or big upfront amount – then don’t sell, despite the market condition, unless necessary (financial emergencies etc).

Hodlers make peace with volatility. The price goes up, the price goes down, but life goes on.

I am a hodler.

Traders, on the other hand… do the whole chart thing, the technical analysis. It’s like forex trading but on crack. Unlike currencies pairing or the stock market, the crypto market opens 24/7.

I don’t really have much to say to traders, except (1) reminding you day trading is haram, (2) good luck, don’t trade money you can’t afford to lose, and (3) don’t believe that copy-trading is ‘easy money’ – I lost everything there when I tried it out lol.

Is there anything else you want to add to this article?

We’ve covered:

  • How to buy cryptocurrencies in Malaysia, and where
  • How to avoid scams and losing money

Senpais, what else should people know about buying cryptocurrencies?  What do you wish you know when you first started? How is your experience like as a member of the crypto community? Leave your advice in the comments section.

Next reading: I have lost all my money 3 times, two of those incidences with crypto. Read my experience here.

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