Founder of Bitkub exchange Atichanan Pulge opted not to halt local exchanges even though the clients did not meet the requirements set by the SEC. He was one of the personalities who are up for debate on which among Southeast Asian countries are allowed to purchase cryptocurrencies.
The dispute is due to what happened last November 2020 when the surge in domestic crypto trading alarmed Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The estimated increase in domestic crypto volume was said to be close to 600%.
In response to the rising popularity of cryptocurrency in Thailand, the SEC proposed a training course and test to prevent new traders from exploring the market of digital assets.
The SEC decided in March that they will ask confirmation from an individual to qualify as a trader. Additionally, there will also be a US$32,000 annual minimum income requirement for domestic crypto traders.
However, Pulge stated that these types of restrictions will only push Thai crypto users to make transactions through other unregulated overseas platforms.
‘Crypto participants, including platform operators and investors, are mostly young and passionate about new technology and decentralization’, stated SEC general Ruenvadee Suanmongkol regarding the restrictions.
Moreover, Suanmongkol said that they must realize that this financial innovation also has the potential to harm and bring damage to the financial system of the country. However, on April 1, the SEC decided not to push through the restrictions after a month of discussion because of the feedback that they got from the market participants.
‘The regulator realizes any curbs can’t reverse the tide toward digital’, Pulge said.
Along with crypto trading, Thailand is on a roll with DeFi. Over the past 12 months, the country ranked second in search traffic for the word ‘decentralized finance’ according to a March report from decentralized finance content platform The Defiant.
Compared to other countries, the volume of Thai crypto exchanges is still small. However, in recent months, digital assets like Bitcoin surged and even jumped to all-time highs. Pulge also discloses to the public that 90% of domestic crypto trading exchanges cater to more than 300,000 customers.
Pulge began his interest in cryptocurrency when he was still a student in Los Angeles a decade ago. During his studies, he was mining Bitcoin as a way to pay his rent, earn money for school and learn about the market. In 2018, he co-founded Bitkub, the biggest licensed cryptocurrency exchange in Thailand.
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