Cryptocurrency has been making waves as an investment vehicle over the last few years. However, it was originally created as a medium of exchange where you are supposed to spend it on goods and services like you would with traditional money.
Despite this, you probably wouldn’t think of spending your hard earned crypto on a burger. This is in spite of growing interest among Malaysians in owning cryptocurrencies. In Finder’s Cryptocurrency Adoption Index, Malaysia ranked seventh out of 27 countries studied, with crypto ownership rates of 19.9%. This is even higher than the global average of approximately 15.5%.
The state of cryptocurrencies in Malaysia
While interest in cryptocurrencies continues to rise, its use within Malaysia is a little complicated. Malaysia’s Deputy Finance Minister announced in parliament that the country has no intention of recognising cryptocurrencies as legal tender. Some of the reasons given for this stance include the volatile nature of cryptocurrency prices and its potential vulnerabilities to cyber-attack, rendering them a poor fit as legal tender.
It is not that transactions involving cryptocurrencies are prohibited. While there are Malaysian businesses that accept cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, they are few and far between.
In 2018, a renowned businessman in Sabah utilised half a Bitcoin to purchase 3 acres of land. The transaction was witnessed by a third party, and the agreement was sent to a lawyer for certification before making an application for the ownership transfer at the Sandakan Land Office. However, it must be noted that the parties involved in the transaction were already acquaintances before the deal took place, meaning that a certain level of trust had already been established.
Where can you spend your crypto?
Despite growing interest in cryptocurrencies, finding a place to spend them directly in Malaysia can be a daunting task.
We have compiled a list of businesses where Malaysians can spend their cryptocurrencies:
BolehVPN – A homegrown virtual private network (VPN) company that allows users to establish a secure, encrypted connection between your computer and the internet, granting more freedom and security while on the web. Customers can utilise Bitcoin to pay for BolehVPN’s services via Dash or Coinpayments. They have a number of packages available, ranging from 7 days (RM10) to 365 days (RM260).
ExpressVPN – Another well-known VPN service based in the British Virgin Islands that accepts a range of cryptocurrencies as payment but works best with Bitcoin. They are renowned for having consistently good quality and service. They have three different packages: monthly subscription (US$12.95), 180 days (US$59.95) and 360 days (US$99.95).
Goobat – Goobat became one of the first online pharmacies in Malaysia to accept Bitcoin on its local e-commerce store Goobat.care. They offer a wide range of pharmaceutical and household products including supplements, hygiene products, health & beauty products, over-the-counter medication, and more; all of which can be purchased via Bitcoin. They are also associated with Maxwell Pharmacy, who can be contacted for advice and consultation if customers have enquiries.
Jijah’s Nasi Kerabu – A rare example of a store that accepts cryptocurrency outside of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. Jijah’s Nasi Kerabu Stall is located in Kelantan and serves a wide variety of local delicacies, including their eponymous Nasi Kerabu, various specialty grilled fish, and more. The humble stall accepts Bitcoin as payment, but has expanded to accept Deus, Tracto, and Dogecoin.
Mahkota Briyani – This restaurant located in Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur, is a great place to find Nasi Briyani Johor with dishes such as Ayam Merah, Daging Hitam and Kambing Briyani for as low as RM12 per serving. While the restaurant is available for deliveries via GrabFood and Food Panda, walk-in customers will have the benefit of paying via Cheesecoin for their delicious treats.
Rawlulu – A Malaysian based company that specialises in cruelty-free cosmetics. Their stock includes eyeliners, lipsticks, nail polish, and hand sanitizers, all made with vegan-free ingredients. Their products are also very affordable, hovering around the RM50 to RM60 price range and are available for shipping worldwide. As you can already guess, they do accept cryptocurrencies as payment.
Vape Club International – Previously known as Vape Club Malaysia, the company is among Asia’s first e-liquid subscription services. Its products include nicotine free e-liquids, 3mg e-liquids, 6mg e-liquids and nicotine salts. Their products also come in a variety of flavours and brands that are sure to meet the vaping needs of their customers. They accept Bitcoin and Ethereum, and Litecoin payments via Coinbase.
How volatile are crypto prices?
As we can see, the idea of cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange has not caught on. However, the wild fluctuation in its value complicates the matter. For example, these have been the price of a single Bitcoin in the month of March 2022 according to xe.com’s currency converter:
|March 1, 2022
|March 8, 2022
|March 15, 2022
|March 22, 2022
|March 29, 2022
The massive change in value makes it very difficult for businesses to set prices.
Additionally, cryptocurrency payments are not immediate. It takes time for the blockchain to get updated, and transactions can take up to three days to be reflected on the ledger. In this time, the value of the currency could have changed drastically.