Yes, you heard it right, as of May 2020, Monetary Authority of Macau (AMCM) effectively bans all cryptocurrency activities within local banks ( Financial Information Office of Macau, 2020).
From being able to purchase cryptocurrency on my Macau credit card last year, I was declined by my bank today when I tried to buy crypto on Celsius App.
**You can still own crypto in Macau but you can’t deposit or withdraw through your bank cards. Instead, you will have to use other methods (click here).
All financial institutions operating in Macau have to follow the local regulations published by the AMCM.
Under the AMCM regulation, crypto assets are not classified as legal assets due to its decentralisation system, encryption ability, and untraceable transactions.
AMCM doesn’t encourage the use of cryptocurrency as it believes its a place where money laundering and terrorist activity can occur.
If Macau and China have banned crypto assets, where else can you buy crypto?Country Jurisdiction NamePermit use of Crypto AssetsMainland ChinaUnpermittedHong Kong ChinaPermittedJapanPermittedSouth KoreaPermittedSingaporePermittedUSA PermittedCanadaPermittedThailandPermitted
Source: Financial Information Office of Macau, 2020 May
As Macau is one of the wealthiest cities in the world, it is inevitable to have money laundering activities. AMCM’s purpose of banning cryptocurrency is to decrease the existence of financial crimes and money laundering.
Let’s walk through how a criminal would use cryptocurrency to facilitate money laundering.
Imagine John hires Bobby to launder money for him. Bobby will purchase an identity theft service (victim= Aaron) on the dark web while laundering John’s money, to make sure that the authorities will not trace it back to Bobby.
Bobby can purchase cryptocurrency using John’s money (but using Aaron’s accounts) and wire the crypto from Aaron to John. Since cryptocurrency is decentralized, the authorities can’t trace who sent John the crypto, now John’s money is clean.
The reason why Bobby can’t use John’s accounts to purchase crypto with John’s money is because banks monitor transactions that are big in value.
Can I still buy crypto if I’m in Macau? How Would I Do It?
To buy or sell cryptocurrency, you will now have to go through crypto OTC (over the counter) in Macau (One Satoshi Technology, situated at Ginza Plaza UG 1). This is not illegal.
To find out more about how and where you can purchase crypto in Macau, schedule a 1-1 workshop call with me using Calendly. I would be more than happy to share my crypto experience with others.
Who’s a crypto investor here, and how did you purchase your cryptos? Let me know in the comments!