New Thailand Crypto Regulations Force In-Person KYC

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In Brief
  • New crypto accounts require in-person ID checks in Thailand.

  • Thailand Anti-Money Laundering Office takes at aims at cryptocurrencies.

  • Crypto account openings expected to slow in Thailand.

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New crypto regulations in Thailand require that anyone who wants to open up an account must physically register, and cannot be done online.

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The new regulations will come into place from September 2021. They were introduced by the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) to curb money laundering in the Southeast Asian nation.

Those wishing to set up a new crypto account will be required to submit key documents in person to register, as well as scan their Thai identification card in what is being referred to as a “dip-chip” machine. 

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The dip-chip machine system has previously been employed to register gold traders in Thailand. Thanarat Pasawongse, chief executive of Hua Seng Heng, explained that the dip-chip system has worked in identifying users in the gold trading system.  Also, it’s been effective for customer relations management, but some clients are still hesitant to register.

“Some customers still prefer to maintain their privacy,” Thanarat told the Bangkok Post.

Authorities expect the openings of cryptocurrency accounts to slow, with the new rules, as the opening of exchange accounts has traditionally been done online. Some argue that having to physically register goes against the concept of crypto being a decentralized and digital system.

Co-founder and director of Satang Corp Poramin Insom explained;

“Most digital asset exchanges are still busy preparing their systems to accommodate the growing number of clients as new account applications continue to flow in. However, this growth may be curbed if the application process becomes more complicated.”

Thailand has seen a recent surge in crypto account holders this year. The number of accounts in Thailand went from 160,000 in 2020 to 700,000 in 2021.

Thailand follows Nigeria, India, Bolivia, and most recently Turkey in nations looking to either ban or heavily regulate cryptocurrencies, as governments look to apply more control. Regulations of cryptocurrency holders have historically not gone down well. Nigeria, the world’s second-largest user of crypto after the United States, banned cryptocurrencies in February 2021, which saw a massive backlash from Nigerians, as well as the international community.

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