Crypto Confusion in Thailand: SEC Says No to Bitcoin ETFs, Investors in Limbo 

Not every country is open to allowing the trading of spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds, even ones that have been labeled as “crypto-friendly.” Thailand is not ready to allow the trading of such products yet, according to financial regulators.

On January 17, the Bangkok Post reported that the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission said it does not plan to allow asset management firms to launch spot Bitcoin ETFs.

No Bitcoin ETFs for Thailand

The move comes less than a week after the landmark launch of spot Bitcoin ETFs in the United States.

The approval prompted Thai securities brokerage firms to encourage Thai investors to invest in US-spot Bitcoin ETFs directly.

However, the Thai SEC had other ideas, urging Thai investors to trade on local exchanges and brokerages. The finance regulator then brought the axe down on spot ETF trading, stating:  

“The SEC has been following these developments closely but we do not have a policy to allow spot Bitcoin ETFs to be established in Thailand for the time being,”

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The SEC stated that “securities companies can provide services to retail customers to invest in foreign products, but they must have the same characteristics as products that can be offered for sale in Thailand,”

However, if spot Bitcoin ETFs are not allowed in Thailand, they can’t be traded on local platforms. Moreover, the SEC said it would like to “monitor developments,” after having at least six months to prepare for the launches in the US. 

Nine licensed digital asset exchange operators are currently providing crypto trading services in the country.

Analysts say nearly $10 billion has been traded on US spot BTC ETFs in the first three days, indicating a clear demand for the products. 

US spot Bitcoin ETF 3 days trading. Source: X/@JSeyff

Binance Launches in Thailand (But Not for Foreigners) 

On January 16, Binance launched its long-awaited exchange in Thailand in partnership with Gulf Innova. However, Thailand’s large expat population will be unable to use the newly launched Binance TH exchange. 

Registration and KYC procedures require a Thai national digital ID (NDID). Moreover, the Thai government does not issue these to foreigners residing in the country. Furthermore, Binance TH customer support confirmed this to BeInCrypto: 

“After checking with the team, I’m afraid a foreigner Thai ID card is indeed currently not supported.”

Thailand has often been touted as “crypto-friendly” by Western media outlets, but the truth is a little different

In September, the newly appointed Thai government announced that it would begin taxing overseas income from crypto trading starting in January 2024.  

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