Skip to main content

A 33-year-old fuelling crypto boom is worrying Thai regulators

 

Atichanan Pulges first became interested in cryptocurrencies a decade ago when he was an engineering student in Los Angeles. Mining Bitcoin was a way for the Bangkok native to learn about markets and pay his rent.

Now back in Thailand after a stint at Goldman Sachs Group, Atichanan is a co-founder of the nation’s largest licensed cryptocurrency exchange. He’s also on the front lines of an intensifying debate over who should be allowed to buy digital assets in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission, alarmed by a sixfold surge in domestic crypto trading since November, said on April 1 that it would soon require traders to have experience, or take courses or pass an exam. The regulator didn’t finalise a date and opted not to ban local exchanges from accepting clients who didn’t meet minimum-income levels, which had been mulled. Digital-asset proponents including Atichanan argue that too many restrictions will merely drive Thais to unregulated platforms overseas.

“The regulator realises any curbs can’t reverse the tide toward digital,” said Atichanan, 33, who co-founded Bitkub in 2018. He said the exchange accounts for about 90% of domestic crypto trading and serves 300 000 customers, figures that Bloomberg has been unable to independently verify.

While volumes on Thai crypto exchanges are still small relative to counterparts in countries like the US and South Korea, they’ve been surging in recent months as digital assets including Bitcoin have jumped to all-time highs.

Total trading turnover on all local licensed crypto exchanges jumped to 124 billion baht ($3.96 billion) in February from 18 billion baht in November, according to data from the Thai SEC, which only date back to November. Bitkub’s daily turnover of 4.2 billion baht in February reflects an increase of nearly 40% from a month earlier, according to the company’s statistics. A 24-hour turnover figure on March 30 ranked it 124th among more than 300 exchanges worldwide tracked by CoinMarketCap.

As in other markets that have experienced a spike in retail trading during the pandemic, crypto activity in Thailand has soared in large part thanks to demand from younger investors. The boom has also been marked by hiccups at local exchange operators, including Bitkub.

Both developments have attracted scrutiny from the Thai SEC. In January, the regulator asked Bitkub to submit a plan to address investor complaints about “problematic work systems” that have caused trading outages. A month later, the regulator said it was considering eligibility restrictions for clients of crypto exchanges that include a minimum income of more than 1 million baht. The SEC at its April 1 meeting decided not to impose the income requirement, opting for an education or knowledge program.

“Crypto participants, including platform operators and investors, are mostly young and passionate about new technology and decentralisation,” Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol, the SEC’s secretary general, said in an interview. “They must realize any financial innovation also has the potential to cause collateral damage to the general public and financial system.”

Crypto boom

The SEC abandoned its income requirement after gathering feedback from market participants. The borderless and decentralized nature of crypto trading makes such controls difficult to implement, said Poomsiri Dumrongvute, who teaches a financial technology course at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

Bitkub has made a similar argument in its feedback to regulators, also noting that stricter curbs could hamper the development of local blockchain technology.

Despite the regulatory risk, Bitkub is gearing up for a major expansion. The company plans to double staff to 500 by year-end, introduce its own debit card and open a physical crypto trading outlet in Bangkok to lure new entrants and serve as a meeting place for existing ones, according to Atichanan. Over the longer term, Bitkub has ambitions to gain “unicorn” status, or a private valuation of more than $1 billion.

Atichanan said the exchange raised the equivalent of $11 million from investors in three rounds since its establishment, though he declined to comment on the company’s current valuation.

PS. In our blog pages we got hidden links where you can earn cryptocurrency for free.

Source: moneyweb.co.za

Comments

Contact us

Name

Email *

Message *

Popular posts from this blog

Cryptocurrencies Adding to the Safety and Security in the UK Gambling Industry

These are exciting times for the UK gambling industry. The impact of internet technology is now being felt with online gambling now controlling the industry.  The adoption of cutting-edge technology is reasonable for the boom in the industry. From live casinos, mobile apps to artificial intelligence, incredible trends continue shaping the gambling industry. However, it is the rise of cryptocurrency casinos that seeks to redefine UK gambling.  Many operators now include crypto coins such as bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin as part of their banking methods. Others offer exclusive bitcoin payments and promotions based on digital tokens. This revolutionary trend has a huge impact due to enhanced safety and security on these platforms. Players looking for peace of mind when playing online now opt to use cryptocurrencies. This post looks at how cryptos guarantee the safety and security of players at online casinos. How Cryptocurrency Gambling Works There’s a lot of talk about cryptocurrency,

President Biden's Financial Team Will Clarify Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Regulations

  The  cryptocurrency market  is looking for a firm regulatory framework.  Governments around the world are trying to figure out whether bitcoin is a currency, a tradable commodity, a security on par with stocks and options, or a brand new asset class of its own.  Once they figure that one out, they'll have to ask the same questions about Ethereum, Tether, Ripple, and Cardano , and the list of major cryptocurrencies only grows longer over time.  Settling the thorny issues of legality, taxation, and trading rules will take time, adding to the uncertainty and volatility of the global crypto market. President Biden is putting together a team of financial leaders that should clarify the tricky cryptocurrency market in a hurry.  Three of Biden's top-level financial staff picks have a proven understanding of how blockchain and cryptocurrency assets actually work. The view from the top Let's start with our next U.S. Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen. In last week's written tes

The SafeMoon REVIEW

  The SafeMoon is deflationary and rewards the holders.  Every time a transaction has been made, a 10% fee is taken out from the seller, incentivizing people to hold instead of sell.  From that 10%, 5% is burned (causing deflation, the supply constantly shrinking) and the other 5% is split up and sent to all the holders wallets.  When you hold this coin, you will see your token quantity constantly growing.  The team is not anonymous and have been working non stop for this project, and constantly engages with the community in their Reddit  and Discord .  This token also has the highest amount of holders out of all the new deflationary tokens that have popped up recently. Enjoy!