2019 Year in Review: Malaysia

A look back at 2019 – a roller coaster ride.

It was a year of change from how we were structured to how we operated as a global organization and though challenging, it was also excitement filled and we are proud to say that we have emerged stronger for 2020.

We started the year of 2019 with a lot of uncertainties, major restructuring, budget constraints and “funding hiccups” nearly broke situation. The transition from a non-profit foundation towards a profitable organization had begun shortly after a financial audit and now things are slowly falling into place.

In July 2018, NEM officially set foot in Malaysia. We made a wave with the launch of our 11,000 sq ft blockchain centre located in Kuala Lumpur and followed with a series of educational and promotional campaigns to introduce NEM blockchain technology to the public.

In 2019, we focused on building a healthy NEM ecosystem while actively forming strategic alliances and partnerships across different industries despite many challenges ahead. Here we compiled our key outcomes and activities thus far into three pillars, namely Government, Enterprise and Academia. It’s a loooooonggg post but keep scrolling! :wink:


The key pillar of the Malaysian team’s engagement in the past one year. NEM is now recognized by multiple Government and Government-Linked agencies in Malaysia.

  1. The Central Bank of Malaysia, Bank Negara Malaysia recognized NEM as a blockchain enabler in the country (we are the only blockchain platform featured) in their museum that serves as a venue for learning where it showcases past and present technological innovations in the financial world.

  2. Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) is the key government agency in driving all local digital innovation and adoption initiatives. With recently announced Malaysia Budget 2020, MDEC has the mandate to accelerate development in the fintech, blockchain, and drone sectors by attracting global digital talents and interest from investors.

  • MDEC invited NEM to curate the Blockchain track for Malaysia Tech Week 2019 (MTW19), focusing on the possibilities, regulations and use cases of Blockchain.
  • On the same day, MDEC announced the collaboration with NEM and Estonian cross-border job marketplace, Jobbatical to facilitate Digital Freelancer Programme under Profession Visit Pass (PVP) to bring in blockchain talents. The number of Visas to be issued depends on the projects that will be run by blockchain companies in Malaysia and was featured in multiple nationwide news and blockchain sites.
  • NEM joined MDEC Call for Collaboration session with Institutions of Higher Learning - Premier Digital Tech Institutions (IHL-PDTI) to better understand the local education scene especially on establishing industry competence and building new tech talent within Malaysia
  1. Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) is a government agency directly under the Prime Minister for entrepreneurs with the mandate of positioning Malaysia as the startup capital of Asia. MaGIC has opened their allocation for blockchain related events and activities, too.
  • MaGIC has included NEM as one of the key stakeholders in Malaysia’s Blockchain Ecosystem in Malaysia Blockchain & Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) Report 2019.
  1. Blockchain Village @Medini (BVAM) is a project backed by the government to develop the Southern area of Malaysia, Iskandar Puteri (Johor) as the nation’s Blockchain Hub. Four strategic areas have been identified as the key pillars of the hub - namely Talent, Infrastructure, Promotion and Policy. NEM is proud to sit in the steering committee to drive blockchain adoption.

  1. The Sabah State Computer Services Department (JPKN) is a state-owned agency to drive development and use of IT in the public sector.
  • The affiliated agency of JPKN, Sabah Net built an e-scroll platform for University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) on NEM public chain. It has gone live since November 2018.
  • NEM was invited to be the official Blockchain provider of Sabah IT Symposium 2019. NEM trained respective senior government officials including the members of the state’s blockchain working group on NEM technology.
  1. On boarded a tech startup and innovation hub funded and managed by Penang government, aCAT to be the NEM Blockchain Hub in Penang to facilitate related activities and events.

  2. Hosted high-level Blockchain trainings for the senior management team of Penang state’s investment arm, investPenang.


The Malaysian team was crucial in the foundation’s pivot towards becoming a profitable organization where we helped to put together and drive key aspects of the revenue strategy.

For 2019, we managed to successfully bring in revenue amounting to tens of thousand USD through various consulting projects and different training sessions.


The team conducted private blockchain training and workshop sessions with the senior management team of key players of respective industry such as:

  • Penang Skills Development Centre (state-owned agency)
  • UEM Sunrise and its subsidiary, UEM Edgenta (Government Linked Company focusing on real estate development)
  • SI training with 2 local delivery partners.
  • Previously we also did the same with Telekom Malaysia (government-linked company providing telecommunication infrastructure), Tenaga Nasional Berhad (the only utility provider in Malaysia and owned by the government) and Petronas (Biggest oil & gas company in Malaysia owned by the government).

Key Strategic Partnerships

KPMG Malaysia and Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET) for Cyber Technology Challenge (Blockchain)

  • NEM was invited to design their hackathon challenge, coach 300 participants and judge the competition which gave us a lot of credible mileage given the global reputation of KPMG.

Infinity Blockchain Group

  • A partnership spanning across Southeast Asia (SEA) to consult and build solutions for corporate clients on a revenue sharing basis. This allows us to leverage on their 300 tech developers in their Vietnam Blockchain Lab and their ICO consulting license given by the government.


  • One of the most reputable blockchain reports and news site in Asia. This partnership allows us to publish any thought leadership articles to their audience. We will also be leveraging their resources and network to build industry specific reports on blockchain adoption which will be very helpful in guiding our product strategy for Catapult.


To date, the Malaysian team managed to secure NINE (9) academia partnerships with Higher Educational Institutions (HEI) nationwide.

Public University

  1. University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS)
  2. Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)
  3. Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS)

Private University

  1. Taylor’s University
  2. UCSI University
  3. HELP University
  4. First City University College (FCUC)
  5. Linton University College (LUC)
  6. Multimedia University (MMU)

Together, these MoUs have solidified into FOUR (4) key focuses and led to the following key outcomes for us:

  1. Blockchain Syllabus Advisor

We are advising our partner universities on launching their own blockchain curriculum by providing them training and feedback on their course outlines.

  1. Speaking Engagements & Trainings

We see a significant rise in demand over the past one year, especially when the Government started to discuss about blockchain technology in some major events and being very open to this emerging technology. Universities are eagerly tapping into the blockchain education and exploring ways to bring more quality education to the scene and with their corporate partners.

To name a few key engagements with the local private and public universities,

  • Keynote speaker of First City University College (FCUC) 8th Innovation Day to share the potential and possibilities of blockchain technology.
  • Together with IBM, we talked about the use cases and future of blockchain technology in this part of the world during the September series of the National University of Malaysia (UKM) Blockchain Talks where many industry players are also in attendance.
  • We discussed blockchain technology is beyond just crypto and FinTech and how it can help as a lever of sustainable development with the lecturers and students of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).
  • The commercial arm of Multimedia University, MMU Cnergy invited us to be the guest speaker for their blockchain session with management level government officials.
  • We discussed how blockchain and IoT can be integrated and how it will advance individuals, organizations and businesses on a larger scale during the IoT forum hosted by Asia Pacific University (APU).

  1. Internship

Students from partner institutions have been invited to join us and gain real-world experience in the ever changing blockchain world which in turn gives us access to more development talent.

  1. Special Programmes

One of the key Initiatives is our partnership with the National University of Malaysia (UKM) in a two-year blockchain sandbox programme where the end goal is to influence country policy makers and regulators as well as to create a national blockchain framework. We are 1 of the 20 key partners from the industry.

Other than just educational visits from university students, we also received enquiries for industry visit. We recently hosted one of the most established professional training schools in Japan, Aso College Group in our working space. They were on a mission, sent by the Japanese Ministry of Education, to explore and understand Malaysian higher education landscape, especially on blockchain education. We shared our journey in building a highly accessible, trustworthy local blockchain ecosystem and the progress thus far during the sharing session.

Strategic Speaking Engagements

The Malaysian team has a different approach on getting unpaid but high value publicity through strategic public engagements and brand association with the big names in its respective industry. Estimated earned media placements worth more than RM500,000 (30+ events and exhibitions nationwide), including physical booths or brand highlight, speaking slots, online & offline media coverage.

Some of the key engagements include:

  • The Pacific Asian Consortium for International Business Education and Research (PACIBER) is a forum panel that is led by a consortium of 27 leading universities dedicated to bridging the gap by establishing linkages to promote international business education, research and exchange of information among faculty and students. NEM was the only blockchain platform to talk about the technology and how educators should jump start blockchain education in their respective country.

  • SME Digital Tech 4.0 Conference is a conference catered for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia. NEM was invited to share insights and possibilities of blockchain technology and how it can catalyst business growth, transformation and expansion in front of more than 1,000 local business owners .

  • SME Thought Leadership 2019 is co-organized by the Star Media Group and CIMB which aim to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) capitalise on various tools in order to thrive and remain competitive through a series of inspirational talks, broad panel discussions and intimate networking sessions by successful key figures who have made their mark in their industries.

  • Asia Supply Chain 4.0 Summit 2019 is a closed-door event especially open for the local industry players including government agency. NEM was invited to share the future of supply chain industry and how blockchain could help advance the industry.

  • Malaysia Technology Development Centre (MTDC) is the key player in technology development in Malaysia and promoting the adoption of technologies by local companies. NEM was invited as one of the three panelists along with MIGHT. The session gathered 150 participants from the organization where most of them are advisory, fund and account managers of tech related companies.

  • ‘Study in Australia Expo’ where NEM talked about the blockchain landscape in Malaysia and discussed the gap in talent demand and supply especially in blockchain.

  • NEM hosted Malaysia Business Angel Network (MBAN) & Hong Leong Bank (HLB) monthly pitching session for three consecutive months.

While Malaysia is experiencing lower growth in certain sectors, we foresee more adoption in 2020 for blockchain in terms of pilot projects and assessments especially from the Government and enterprises. The Malaysian Government has announced multiple initiatives and frameworks that drive digital transformation to spur digital adoption and digital entrepreneurship among Malaysians. For example, allocation of RM25 million contestable matching grant fund to spur more pilot projects especially on blockchain, drone delivery and autonomous vehicles. Not forgetting the launch of a government initiated blockchain village where we sit as part of the steering committee, Smart City Framework and virtual banking framework.

More and more enterprises are talking and exploring blockchain technology, however, the overall literacy of the public and enterprises is still rather poor to drive a greater social impact nor solve existing issues in the industry. This is where we are confident that the partnerships and recognition we have strived to cultivate in 2019 will begin to bear fruit for us now.

Will 2020 be the year we go beyond the hype and bring blockchain technology to mainstream adoption? We hope you guys are just excited as we are to find out!

Here is to powering possibilities, together.


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