Financial regulators in Thailand are about to get tough on crypto. The move follows a tumultuous year in which Asians have suffered major losses.
On Dec. 13, the Bangkok Post reported that the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission is preparing stricter rules for crypto assets.
The regulator cites the same “investor protection” motivations, but tighter rules usually make things tougher for retail investors.
Furthermore, the bankruptcy of the Celsius Network had a knock-on effect on Thai investors using the Zipmex platform. Asian retail investors were also hit hardest when FTX collapsed in early November.
According to the Thai SEC, the recent events “reflect the vulnerability of the digital asset industry and the lack of proper oversight.”
Investor Protection Priorities
The regulator used new regulations in the U.K., Japan, and Singapore as examples of what it wants to replicate. However, Singapore remains the region’s crypto hub and does not wish to stifle innovation or investment.
Thailand’s SEC is setting up a working committee to study the crypto industry. Additionally, it will consist of relevant government agencies and private sector representatives. They will be tasked with suggesting ways to improve the laws to adapt to the changing environment.
The SEC aims to crack down on crypto advertising and product promotions, especially those using celebrities and influencers. This month, a similar crackdown occurred in the United States as several high-profile athletes were paid to promote FTX.
The regulator is also monitoring new potential risks and has vowed to improve regulations. Cryptocurrency trading is very popular in Thailand, but the military-backed government has banned its usage for payments.
Crypto trading remains open and available in Thailand, but it remains to be seen how the government will restrict it going forwards.
Thailand’s tourism ministry has repeatedly touted the country as a crypto hub, but the central bank and regulators have other ideas. In September, it was reported that more restrictive regulations dashed Thailand’s dreams of becoming a crypto hub.
Thailand CBDC Plans Pursued
Thailand’s central bank is keen to follow in China’s footsteps, rolling out its central bank digital currency (CBDC).
Furthermore, the Bank of Thailand is preparing to launch a retail CBDC pilot before the end of the year. Just like China, Thailand wants a programmable currency that the state can monitor and control.
However, it is not so keen on decentralized crypto assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
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