Thailand Regulators Set to Restrict Operation of Unauthorized Crypto Exchanges

The rise in crypto-related crimes has forced the Thai government to take decisive action to restrict the operation of unregistered exchanges. In an April 19 announcement, Thai regulators confirmed that the restrictive measure on noncompliant exchanges addresses money laundering and online crimes. 

The new provision compels the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to provide a comprehensive report on unregistered crypto exchanges to the Digital Economy and Society Ministry.

Thai Regulators to Ban Unlicensed Crypto Exchanges

During the Technology Crime Prevention and Suppression Committee meeting, the secretary general for the Thai SEC, Pornanong Budsaratragoon, issued new directives on the need to suspend the operation of unregistered exchanges. 

The decision to ban unregistered crypto exchange mirrors the strategic action taken by regulators in India and the Philippines. A few weeks ago, the Indian and Philippine authorities banned unlicensed foreign crypto exchanges. 

The ban aimed at addressing financial crimes and strengthening investors’ protection. The commission underlined the risk associated with the operation of unlicensed crypto exchanges in Thailand. 

According to the SEC, to reduce the inherent threat associated with the operations of unauthorized exchanges in Thailand, the regulators advised the customers to withdraw their funds from platforms under regulatory scrutiny.

The SEC urged the customer to expedite the withdrawal process before the new rules take effect. In the latter, the SEC warned Thai investors to be hyper-vigilant when receiving services offered by unlicensed crypto exchanges since they are not recognized under the existing law. 

Rise of Crypto Crime

Besides noncompliance with the licensing requirement, the unregistered exchange has become a breeding ground for scammers and money launders. The commission advised the Thai investors to conduct due diligence with the SEC before conducting any transaction or investment with the exchanges under scrutiny. 

Also, the traders were urged to check the compliance level of the crypto exchange with the SEC Check First platform. For instance, after an analysis of the compliance of Binance in Thailand, the commission noted that the controversial crypto exchange was not registered in the region. This implies that the Binance operation will be seized immediately after the new rules take effect.

Apart from Binance, the market regulators noted that renowned offshore exchanges, including KuCoin, OKX, Coinbase, and Kraken, operated in Thailand illegally. Despite restricting measures on unauthorized exchanges, Thai regulators have remained at the forefront of the ongoing push for crypto adoption. 

The criminal activities witnessed in the crypto sector have limited the plans to promote the mainstream adoption of crypto assets. A few weeks ago, the Thai authority allowed wealthy investors and institutional clients to invest their holdings in crypto exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Also, Thai regulators allow retail customers to invest in gold-backed digital assets. 

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