Thai SEC Backpedals on Crypto Trading Requirements

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In Brief
  • Thai SEC will amend requirements for cryptocurrency trading amidst backlash.

  • Critics felt proposed capital requirements disenfranchised middle-income traders.

  • SEC head says original draft was to gauge public opinion, is open to further debate.

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Thailand said it will amend its draft of requirements for cryptocurrency traders amidst backlash to its initial proposal.

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The Thai SEC, whose original legislation required prospective cryptocurrency traders to have a minimum income of at least 1 million Thai baht, which is roughly $33,000.

This legislation drew backlash for its excessively high standards. Critics say this would effectively prevent low-to-middle income traders from participating in the crypto markets.

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Just a Draft, the SEC implies

Secretary-General of the Thai SEC, Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol, responded to the vitriol, saying that the criteria proposed was just a litmus test for public opinion. She said that this was typical protocol when drafting new regulations.

“I proposed the criteria that many considered too tough to prompt people to express their opinions on the matter and did not intend to say these are the exact qualifications that will be implemented,” she said.

She also insisted that critics had misunderstood the 1-million-baht annual income requirement.

Responsible for the Little Guy

The rise in Bitcoin’s prominence over the past year has tempted many first time investors to dip their toes into the crypto markets. This has especially been the case in Thailand. Its biggest local digital exchange, Bitkub, has recently experienced several system crashes, due to the increased demand. 

Suwanmongkol said that the SEC is responsible for protecting these green investors. “If the SEC just stands by and does nothing, it would be totally our responsibility if investors lose on cryptocurrency,” she said. The local cryptocurrency market has transformed drastically since the Digital Assets Decree was first enacted in 2018.

Open for Debate, SEC’s stance

The SEC has said that it is open to further discussion regarding the proposal. Last week, the SEC reported that it had elicited the opinions of representatives from local digital exchanges over dinner.

Additionally, a public discussion planned for three weeks from now has been moved ahead to tomorrow. The Thai SEC will be hosting a live event on their Facebook page tomorrow evening, and again one its original date March 24.

Last year, Thai regulators said digital securities firms in Thailand could include the value of their crypto holdings as part of their net capital (NC) valuation. The move was part of revisions to the NC rules enacted by the SEC.

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Nick is a data scientist who teaches economics and communication in Budapest, Hungary, where he received a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Business Analytics from CEU. He has been writing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, and is intrigued by its potential economic and political usage. He can best be described as an optimistic center-left skeptic.

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