The Stock Exchange of Thailand, or SET, is planning to launch a digital asset trading platform in the second half of 2021, but it will not include cryptocurrencies.
The headline in The Bangkok Post “Digital asset trade imminent" appears at first glance to be bullish for the industry in the region but the report notes the bourse does not want to include cryptocurrencies:
“The SET says cryptocurrencies do not meet its product qualifications and could facilitate money laundering, while causing harm to the bourse's image as a ‘high trust’ exchange.”
The exchange has laid out three criteria for listing asset backed tokens from approved companies; firstly the token must have an underlying asset that investors can “analyze on value”. It must be a “valuable product that supports economic activities”, and the product must “have benefits to society and the environment”.
Kasikorn Business Technology Group (KBTG), an arm of Kasikorn Bank which has been working closely with the SET on blockchain projects, will be responsible for sourcing and screening products entering the new marketplace.
SET executive vice-president Kitti Sutthiatthasil said that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin do not meet any of the criteria laid out. He cited money laundering as a major concern and said that currency stability was also the reason for the omission:
“Thailand has a strong economy. As inflation has remained low and the Bank of Thailand's measures to keep the baht stable have worked in the past, the SET has no reason to support cryptocurrencies at the moment,”
In reality, Thailand’s economy, which is highly dependent on tourism, has been battered over the past 12 months due to the Covid-19 outbreak and the Kingdom being largely closed to foreigners.
Thai exchange ordered to shape up
In related news, Thailand’s largest crypto asset exchange, Bitkub, has been ordered to shape up by the Securities and Exchange Commission following a number of lengthy outages during the recent rally.
According to The Bangkok Post, the Bitkub desktop trading platform was shut down on Tuesday, Jan. 19, following an order from the SEC which revised crypto regulations in November. The financial regulator gave the firm five days to fix issues which had crashed the platform three times this month due to spikes in trading activity.
Bitkub currently has a 97% share of the Thailand market based on volume of accounts and daily trading. The company reported the total number of active accounts surged to almost 800,000 in the first week of January, while volumes spiked to as high as $50 million per day.
At the time of writing Thailand’s leading crypto exchange was still offline and investors and traders have no access to their funds.