Regulators and banks in Thailand are slowly turning the screws on privately owned crypto exchanges operating within the Kingdom. Thai Digital Asset Exchange (TDAX) is the first to postpone registration and trading of new ICOs while it waits for a clearer regulatory framework from the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Bank Account Barred
The move comes just a few days after one of the country’s leading banks halted transactions involving trading of cryptocurrencies with the TDAX. Bangkok Bank is the first financial institution in Thailand to take such action. Their reasoning is that the exchange is not in compliance with its business purpose as registered with the Commerce Ministry.
The privately owned Thai crypto exchange had registered. However, they were still waiting for the licenses to be granted. The bank’s decision to terminate the company’s trading account comes two weeks after the central bank issued a warning prohibiting financial institutions from dabbling in the crypto space.
Exchange founder and CEO Poramin Insom was not deterred as the account closure had not affected customers or trading:
Daily trading value remains normal, driven by demand from investors for digital currencies, and investors are able to conduct transactions with three other banks…
ICOs on Ice
In another move, the TDAX announced that it was putting the brakes on ICO registration and trading while it waits for the SEC to disclose its ICO regulatory framework.
The company recently completed an ICO for 100 million JFin tokens for J Ventures, a subsidiary of Stock Exchange of Thailand-listed Jay Mart Plc, at 6.60 baht per token. Reassuring investors, Poramin went on to state:
JFin coin will not be affected, as this ICO was fully subscribed to on Feb 16, while the first trading day will be held on April 2.
A regulatory framework is expected to be released by the SEC on March 8th, and a fintech bill should follow. The ICO regulations are intended to supervise online cryptocurrency exchanges, which will have to register themselves with the SEC. The rush to regulate is part of a wider concern that the stock market could be affected if startups choose to raise funds from foreign exchanges.
There are currently only two private crypto exchanges in Thailand: TDAX, which handles a daily trade volume of $570k, and the larger volume BX, which handles $6.5 million per day, according to Coinmarketcap. Once the regulatory framework is in place, more cryptocurrency exchanges are expected to open within the Kingdom, which, along with Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore, remains crypto friendly.
Will Thailand become more crypto friendly or follow in China’s footsteps? Add your thoughts in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Pixabay and Bitcoinist archives.
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