Now, a new development has arisen—bringing with it some burning questions.
Lowyat just broke the story today. In a developing story, the site revealed that a car showroom under Proton is now accepting payments in Bitcoin and Ethereum.
And they ain’t shy about that fact.
To a certain extent, this is helping legitimise cryptocurrency in Malaysia, pending BNM’s final verdict on it as tender.
But netizens are rightfully concerned about some implications.
1. Don’t Bitcoin values fluctuate too much to be viable tender?
I think the comments here says it all. If it’s an issue of buying nasi lemak or cloth to sew with, then I’d chalk it up to strategic risk-taking on the vendor’s part.
When buying a car though, any fluctuation can translate to a difference in price by the thousands. Will there be set prices in Bitcoin for ease of pricing? Or are the cryptocurrency paid based on the real-time prices of Bitcoin and Ethereum?
Well, it’s most likely the second one. But we’re curious.
2. Can you use a Proton to buy Bitcoin instead? #plottwist
Well okay, this isn’t really a serious question. But it’s a darn good one.
You could theoretically do it though, if you wanted to. If someone is willing to buy trade your car with Bitcoin, what’s stopping you? You could even do it the hard way. Sell your Proton car, then convert that cash into Bitcoin.
3. How much would the transaction fee cost?
There are two layers to this question, so let’s unpack:
Well for this, we might have an inkling of an answer.
Overseas, Coinbase is offering online businesses automatic discounts for anyone who pays with Bitcoin. Because transaction fees charged to merchants are much lower compared to credit card purchase fees.
We aren’t sure of the exact fee, and the difference might go between 1% to 2%.
But that’s for the merchants, which they can use to transfer discounts to customers. Meanwhile, customers are still subject to transaction fees.
On The Buyer
The average transaction fee right now is approximately 28 USD, or RM112. Well played, netizen. Sarcasm well-noted.
As far as we can tell, this is the first time a high-tier brand has indicated that it accepts payments in cryptocurrency. Well, at least a licensed distributor has.
We’ll be reaching out to Proton and DRB-Hicom as well to confirm whether this is only limited to the Seri Kembangan outlet.
Update: Proton has reportedly suspended that dealership in Seri Kembangan.
“While we encourage innovative ways to increase sales, promotional activities must adhere to its guidelines and be endorsed by the major shareholder of the car manufacturer. In order for us to pick up our sales numbers, we shall be taking further steps for more attractive consumer campaigns, and improvement of product and service quality,” Proton vice-president of sales and marketing Abdul Rashid Musa said.
3. Is Proton even allowed to do this—accepting cryptocurrency as legal tender?
BNM has yet to decide on whether cryptocurrency will even be legal tender in Malaysia. If the Proton HQ knows about this and have given their blessing, are they taking a stance, as the national carmaker?
BNM has, in fact, warned users to exercise caution when dallying with cryptocurrencies.
If BNM does bring the hammer down on cryptocurrencies, will this impact Proton?
4. Is the purchase subject to GST?
Sorry to break the news, but the purchase would probably still be subject to GST. This is because Proton (or this particular dealer) still needs to pay the government GST for every sale, so they’ll probably still charge you for the GST-equivalent in Bitcoin.
They’ll still have to pay the government in Ringgit though.
Here are some other questions we had when we heard the news.
Well, I don’t want to toot my own horn. But we’re netizens, too. And these are some good questions that we think gets overlooked about this crypto-velopment.
5. How does cashflow work?
As an authorised distributor, this store in Seri Kembangan will still have to answer to the parent company Proton for all of its transactions. Not to mention, sales will still be subject to things like GST, which still has to be paid to the government.
So would they have a pool of floater fiat money ready to pay to these head honchos whenever a cryptocurrency sale goes through? Or would they go through the process of converting into Ringgit every time a sale goes through to pay their dues?
6. How involved is Proton in this decision?
The banner announcing the currency acceptance has Proton and DRB-Hicom’s logo proudly emblazoned, but how involved was Proton in this decision?
We have a feeling that someone in Proton’s would at least be aware of this option being made available. But would Proton’s heads be happy with this decision now that it’s blown up?
Or has Proton’s HQ given their blessing for this Bitcoin and Ethereum acceptance long ago?
7. Will Proton backpedal out of the option now that this has blown up?
We may have our opinions about whether this is positive or negative. But the most important question is whether Proton decides if this is positive or negative.
8. How many sales are they making with cryptocurrency as tender?
You can’t help but wonder. Even if this option is available, would customers actually buy using cryptocurrency, even if they own it?
While the comments we’re highlighting seem to lean towards negative, the truth is that opinions are still mixed. As a currency, Bitcoin and Ethereum are still too young to make confident projections about.
And as members of the general public, we’re still not sure what to think about it. After all, rumours about the cryptocurrency bubble still run wild.
Malaysians might have a clearer expectation of cryptocurrency in Malaysia once BNM finally makes their decision. Until then, we’re just going to have a lot of questions.
- Lowyat revealed that a car showroom under Proton is now accepting payments in Bitcoin and Ethereum.
- The internet lit up with questions from curious Malaysians.
- For example, what about the highly volatile nature of cyrptocurrency? Does Proton know about this decision? What are the transaction fees like?
Feature Image Credit: Lowyat forum user Xccess.