Policing Cryptocurrencies

By: Sonny Zulhuda

This note was a reproduction of the same published by the New Straits Times here.

You-Can-Use-Bitcoins-Here

BANK Negara Malaysia (BNM) Governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim was recently quoted in theNew Straits Times as saying that guidelines governing cryptocurrencies were expected to be unveiled by the end of the year, which is less than three months from now.

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of the banking system. It is an emerging financial technology enabled by innovation and is increasingly popular among Internet users. It challenges financial and regulatory rules on currency and payment systems.

BNM’s statement could not have come at a better time as cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are increasingly popular in Malaysia. Not only do we see companies and communities accepting Bitcoin, but small businesses, such as a nasi kerabu stall in Kota Baru, Kelantan, were also reported as accepting payment in Bitcoin.

As with any new and disruptive technology-based business phenomenon, cryptocurrency has its pro and cons. Proponents view it as a natural solution for fast-growing electronic commerce through a ubiquitous technology like the Internet. They also argue that cryptocurrencies benefit people who are otherwise denied access to banking services.

While allowing cryptocurrencies may signal our business friendliness to the digital economy, it also triggers risks and uncertainties. The greatest of them is their potential use in crimes, such as money laundering and financing terrorism. There have been instances in other countries where Bitcoin has been used in the Dark Web for illicit transactions. Indeed, the anonymity that comes with the use of cryptocurrency is a cause for concern as it makes it harder to ensure consumer protection.

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Tafakkur di Linimasa

Sonny Zulhuda

”Dan janganlah kamu mengikuti apa yang kamu tidak mempunyai pengetahuan tentangnya. Sesungguhnya pendengaran, penglihatan dan hati, semuanya itu akan diminta pertanggunganjawabnya.” (Al-isra, Q.S. 17:36)

2009(c)ObaydullahDunia digital kini menawarkan kita kemudahan dalam hidup. Kenapa? Karena pada hakikatnya telah terjadi revolusi besar-besaran pada mekanisme pemrosesan data di sekitar kita. Kita tidak perlu lagi susah payah bepergian ke suatu tempat, jauh maupun dekat, karena segala informasi terletak di ujung jari. Kegiatan penelitian akademis, marketing sampai ke pekerjaa intelijen sudah mengoptimalkan informasi yang terkoneksi dari pelabagai sumber dan negara.

Melalui jaringan interkoneksi, data yang tersedia begitu besar jumlahnya. Teramat sangat besar. Itulah “big data”.

Kini, kita tak perlu lagi menyalakan mesin mobil atau mengisinya dengan bensin karena yang kita inginkan dapat mendatangi kita dengan sentuhan jari beberapa kali. Sebut saja ingin makan, ingin beli buku, ingin mengirim barang, ingin memanggil tukang, ingin menabung atau mengalihkan saham, ingin booking pesawat dan hotel, dan berbagai macam lagi kegiatan ekonomi kita kini dapat dilakukan dengan bantuan alat telekomunikasi di gajet kita dalam rumah kita sendiri. Tidak perlu keluar rumah, karena rumah kita sudah menjadi bagian dari pemrosesan data itu sendiri.

Demikianlah revolusi teknologi digital yang memungkinkan pemrosesan data dan informasi secara cepat, mudah dan sinergis. Sehingga melancarkan komunikasi kepada semua orang yang terkoneksi dengan mudah. Semua dimungkinkan karena telah tersedianya data dalam jumlah tak terbatas. Dalam terminologi kini, itulah “big data”.

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