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Thailand issues new rules for digital asset providers over ‘crypto’ ads

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has laid out new rules for regulating digital asset advertisements in the country. In an official notice, the securities watchdog stated that the new regulations were designed to bring uniformity to the ecosystem and will take effect from September 1.

Prior to the new rules, digital asset operators ran ads on multiple channels and in several forms. The SEC said that this method of operations posed a significant danger to consumers for failing to disclose the inherent risks associated with virtual assets.

The regulatory body noted that the latest regulations were borne out of the need to “increase the effectiveness of the supervision of advertising to be clear and appropriate in line with foreign regulations and increase protection for traders.”

All ads are advised to present only facts to the public without exaggeration or distortion, especially regarding the number of customers of a service. Furthermore, all costs relating to the ads must be provided to the SEC, including collaboration with influencers and bloggers.

Digital asset operators should include a clear warning about the risks associated with investments and cancel the provision of introducing broker agent (IBA) operators. Perhaps, the most groundbreaking rule is the limitation of ads to the official channel of regulators to prevent “high volatility products from reaching a wide range of people” in a bid to reduce the incidents of impulsive buying.

Firms running their ads before the implementation of the rules have 30 days to revise their ads to be in full compliance. Deliberations for the latest regulations have been ongoing since February 2022, with other relevant government agencies part of the process.

Thailand’s uncertain digital asset terrain

Thailand was once a hot destination for digital asset startups looking to carve a name for themselves in Southeast Asia and the wider world. The country played host to leading companies in the space, but its stance towards the industry has stiffened in recent months.

In March, the SEC banned the use of digital currencies as a means of payment, to the dismay of thousands of investors. The watchdog cited concerns of money laundering, high transaction fees, and volatility as reasons for the ban but stated that they could also be used for trading and speculative purposes.

The country’s regulators tightened the process for issuing operational licenses for new firms while existing operators are under increased scrutiny. Bitkub, Thailand’s largest operator, is under investigation for allegedly breaching the country’s securities laws. Zipmex’s implosion in July was enough incentive for regulators to turn up the heat for all participants in the industry.

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