In this digital era, so many things can be found in a digital format. We’ve had digital media music and video, while our parents and grandparents had to settle with physical CDs & DVDs, cassettes, 8-track tapes, and records… and even those were advanced in their days. We’ve now got digital books, while our uncles and aunts probably had their big library that you loved spending time in as a child. And now, we’ve gotten to digital wallets. You’ve probably heard of them before. On a basic level, a digital wallet basically functions like your physical wallet does: it stores money – in this case, your digital money, such as cryptocurrencies. And digital wallets usually have additional features as well, such as security, in-wallet trading, etc. As the adoption rate of cryptocurrency gets higher, so does the adoption rate of digital wallets.

In 2017 alone, it was reported that digital wallets accounted for $1.35 trillion spent worldwide – which was a nice 32% increase of the previous year’s adoption rate. The United States, as one of the leading economy powerhouses in the world, seems to be leading this change of trend. No less than 57 percent (more than 60 million Americans) are using digital wallets. Digital wallets are now their preferred means of transferring money.

And where is the trend heading to in Malaysia? Let us take a closer look.

Tech In Asia, a platform that builds and serves Asia’s tech and startup community, thinks that digital wallets are beginning their “inevitable entrance” into mainstream adoption. Two of the world’s major players, Alibaba and WeChat, entered the Malaysian market in 2017. They are bringing their own payment services: AliPay and WeChat Pay. These two can have a big influence in socializing the use of digital wallets, since both come with a big array of offline and online partnerships with various merchants.

Furthermore, the country’s Youth and Sports Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, is of the opinion that the country will start paying for things “cashless and contactless”. The country’s second Finance Minister, Johari Abdul Ghani, has recently confirmed that the Malaysian Central Bank will not impose a ban on cryptocurrencies. He was quoted as saying, “It is not the intention of the authorities to ban or put a stop on any innovation that is perceived to be beneficial to the public”. 

This fever of having digital assets to be used in daily life is getting hotter as Malaysia is neutral on cryptocurrencies. While Muhammad Ibrahim, their central bank governor, states that they don’t recognize cryptocurrencies, he also states that they will not ban them either. In regards to the blockchain technology underlying cryptos, the central bank itself is actually planning to integrate Blockchain in its banking sector, and at the same time is preparing some regulations for crypto exchanges in the country. This has caused Malaysians to relax, for they see all of this as a more positive sentiment and a drive to let them explore the crypto world freely. In a way, we might also see an increase in the number of digital wallet users, as there is at least 19% of Malaysians who do not have bank accounts. The reasons may vary, but we do know that opening bank accounts usually involves a complicated process. With digital wallets, this process is generally faster and more efficient.

And that is probably why more and more Malaysians are getting familiar with cryptocurrencies. They are getting exposed to cryptos every day and their government is not totally against digital money, it seems. Exposure and cultivation is happening, particularly in the middle class of the society. Meet Andrew Leong, an entrepreneur of the SME industry. Andrew, who together with his parents runs two stalls at a food court in Bandar Puchong Utama, is accepting Bitcoin and Ether as an alternative means of payment.

While since putting up their payment sign in 2017 there haven’t been many people making  good use of this payment alternative, Andrew remains convinced that cryptocurrencies will become a social norm in the near future. He says he wants to be there first when the time comes.

Andrew himself is running a cryptocurrency training centre. More than 100 Malaysians have signed up for his courses. This, in turn, has helped him to take his business to the next level, while at the same time, assisted him to expose more Malaysians to cryptocurrencies and digital wallets.  

Andrew is one example of some of the daily joes in Malaysia who don’t wholly represent the culture. More and more online businesses are also starting to explore cryptocurrencies as they accept Bitcoin in exchange for their products and services. Recently, Everus Technologies, a Malaysian-based blockchain firm, launched a service which will enable users to pay their utility bills by using EVR, their ethereum-based cryptocurrency. All these businesses have also encouraged the use of digital wallets as Malaysians need them to do transactions.

How should crypto investors (those who treat cryptocurrencies as an investment and rarely spend theirs) in Malaysia store their digital assets? According to Bitcoin Price Malaysia, these investors mostly store their cryptocurrencies in digital wallets. They make good use of free Bitcoin wallets, or, in some cases, they choose exchange wallets. Most of these wallets, are, however, general ones that are not Malaysian-based, as Malaysians are still in the early stages of cryptocurrency adoption. This does not mean that the digital culture is not embraced there though. An article shows that many Malaysian tech-based businesses are getting ready to launch their own versions of digital wallets, including those with millions of daily transactions.

With all of the developments in the world of digital assets, we can hope that the adoption rate of cryptocurrencies and e-wallets will only get higher. If you are a Malaysian and you do not have a digital wallet, check out our advanced & secure, multi-asset, digital wallet app. The sign up process is easy and fast. Furthermore, the founder, Arai Ezzra, is a well-established Malaysian entrepreneur.