Thailand’s central bank will receive more power as the South-East Asian nation steps up regulation of digital assets, as per a recent interview by Thai Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith. “Right now, the central bank has no room to enter into the regulatory framework except for notifying that cryptos are not a legal means of payment for goods and services,” said the Thai finance minister. The decision to overhaul crypto regulations followed the halting of withdrawals by Zipmex, a licensed cryptocurrency and digital token exchange in the country.
Termpittayapaisith explained in a Bloomberg report that the planned amendments to the country’s crypto regulations will “bring the central bank to be part of it.” He added that the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been asked to lead the regulatory overhaul. Under the current rules passed in 2018, the securities watchdog has the sole mandate to supervise the crypto industry.
Noting that the current regulatory framework for digital assets “is not clear enough to regulate the industry,” Termpittayapaisith was quoted as saying, “Right now, the central bank has no room to enter into the regulatory framework except for notifying that cryptos are not a legal means of payment for goods and services.”
However, the official stressed that the aim of tighter crypto regulations is to provide investors with greater protection, not to throttle innovation or technology.
The move comes after Thailand’s regulators were criticised for not taking prompt actions to protect investors of Zipmex (Thailand), a licensed cryptocurrency exchange that temporarily suspended withdrawals last month.
While the platform has resumed withdrawals of certain tokens in a phased manner, it has filed for a moratorium in Singapore for protection from creditors against any lawsuits and to buy time for raising funds.
Despite its trouble with Zipmex, Thailand has been quick to issue licenses and has reportedly approved four more digital asset operators in the country last week. This brings the total number of licensed digital asset operators in Thailand to 21, including three fund managers, nine exchanges, and nine brokers, according to local media.