Thai authorities to regulate digital assets amid rising cyber fraud

digital assets
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Thailand’s regulatory bodies will be laying down rules for the usage of digital assets such as cryptocurrencies in commercial transactions.

The Bank of Thailand (BOT), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Ministry of Finance issued a joint press release in which they highlighted the growing popularity of digital currencies in the country.

In the last few months, more retailers and real estate developers have started to accept digital assets as a form of payment as the country works to establish its own utility token, the TAT coin.

The coin is part of a government-backed “cryptourism” plan that has resulted in Thailand considering a 15% capital gains tax on cryptocurrency trading profits. Finance Minister Mr. Arkhom Termpittayapaisith stated that they would have a clear picture of their crypto tax plan by the end of the month.

These developments and more, according to the government, will likely expose companies and consumers to increased cyber fraud, including “cyber theft, personal data leakage, or money laundering.” These have become the most prevalent causes for the government to establish strict rules for digital assets.

To further safeguard the country’s financial sector, Thailand’s central bank also announced a plan to establish a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the second quarter of 2022.

“Clear supervision of such activity is needed. However, technologies and digital assets that do not pose such risks should be supported with appropriate regulatory frameworks to drive innovation and further benefit for the public,” said Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput, governor of BOT.

The SEC is also hosting a public hearing to gather input on a consultation paper on digital assets until February 8.

The proposal implies that merchants may not advertise and assist digital assets as a payment method, and that exchanges and brokerages may not offer systems such as QR codes or e-wallets to help vendors receive crypto payments.

There will also be restrictions on moving assets from one account to another – for example, Thai baht earned by selling crypto property may only be sent to the seller’s account.

“The SEC, as the regulator for digital asset business operators, has a policy to promote the development of digital asset businesses alongside consumer protection and places emphasis on utilizing digital assets to develop the country’s economy and society,” said Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol, Secretary-General of the SEC. “After discussion with the BOT and MOF, the SEC has conducted a public hearing regarding the guidelines for using digital assets as a means of payment for goods and services to determine the appropriate frameworks in due course.”

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