146 Interactions, 4 today
Thailand’s financial regulators are planning to tighten controls on new account construction at crypto asset exchanges.
According to a May 3 Bangkok Post story, the country’s Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) reported that beginning in July, crypto exchanges would be required to check the identity of new customers in-person using a “dip-chip” machine.
Although new users can actually check their identity with cryptocurrency exchanges by uploading documentation electronically, the dip-chip machines can check a chip embedded in Thai citizen ID cards, necessitating the customer’s physical presence for the authentication method. International investors who are unable to receive Thai ID cards could also be barred from entering Thai markets under the new regulations.
Lawmakers are eager to extend the same rules to gold transactions worth more than 100,000 THB (approximately $3,200). Some gold merchants in the country’s capital, Bangkok, also use dip-chip devices to verify identification.
The tightening of regulations comes at a time when crypto assets are gaining prominence in Thailand, with the number of accounts with Thai crypto exchanges increasing from 160,000 at the end of 2020 to nearly 700,000 at the beginning of May. Industry executives are concerned that the new rules would stifle Thailand’s crypto sector’s development. According to Poramin Insom, co-founder and operator of Thai crypto exchange Satang Corp:
“Most digital asset exchanges are still busy preparing their systems to accommodate the growing number of clients as new account applications continue to flow in. However, this growth may be curbed if the application process becomes more complicated.”
At an upcoming meeting, the Thailand Digital Asset Operators Trade Association plans to hold a discussion on the forthcoming legislation, allowing for dialogue with regulatory agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and AMLO.
Bitkub, Thailand’s largest exchange, which was briefly suspended by the SEC in January, refused to comment on the latest KYC standards, citing the fact that the new regulations have not yet been formally enforced.
The central bank banned the use of a stablecoin pegged to the Thai Baht in mid-March.