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FT minister defends Harapan Coin, cites Jack Ma

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Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad has defended his push to make political cryptocurrency project Harapan Coin a reality.

“The founder of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, has also said it (the coin) is the future in terms of technology.

“When we manage and use it well, there would be value to it. People would buy (the coin) and the value would go up when it is used for government matters and other purposes,” Khalid was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today last night.

The Harapan Coin website was registered in December last year. Like most initial coin offering (ICO) websites, it offers a 'white paper' to state its objectives, which in this case was to raise funds for Pakatan Harapan ahead of the 14th general election.

In a video on the site, Khalid – then just the Shah Alam MP – said that 30 percent of the proceeds from the project will be handed to the developer, followed by 30 percent to his party Amanah and the remaining 40 percent to the Harapan coalition.

The cryptocurrency re-emerged in the spotlight after Khalid said he would be sending a proposal on it to Bank Negara Malaysia soon.

Harapan Coin has been panned by both sides of the political divide, as well as by experts.

Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak has demanded to know who would benefit from the project.

Meanwhile, Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar had tweeted that it was a "bad idea".

A cryptocurrency trader has also questioned why no value was assigned to Harapan Coin's ICO.

There are many reports by established news organisations on how the majority of ICOs fail within the first few months – reaping huge profits for a few and losses for most.

Since 2017, China has banned all forms of ICO.

ICO is an unregulated means by which funds are raised for a new cryptocurrency venture.

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