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Crypto Dreams Dashed in Thailand as Regulators Tighten Rules

  • SEC sanctions industry leaders, eyes more investor protections
  • Thailand led the region in adopting digital-asset legislation
A cryptocurrency mining rig by Mining Pro at the Thailand Crypto Expo 2022 in Bangkok, Thailand.

A cryptocurrency mining rig by Mining Pro at the Thailand Crypto Expo 2022 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Photographer: Andre Malerba/Bloomberg
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Thailand’s goal of becoming Southeast Asia’s leading trading center for digital assets has suffered a setback, following moves by regulators to tighten rules in the wake of trading irregularities and the collapse of a major acquisition involving a crypto exchange.

The country was the first in the region to implement digital-asset legislation in 2018, which helped attract droves of so-called millennials to put their money into cryptocurrencies. The Securities and Exchange Commission licensed six platforms as exchanges, including Bitkub Capital Group Holdings Co. and Zipmex Thailand. Bitkub founder and CEO Jirayut Srupsrisopa even became a pop-culture icon as a frequent guest on TV shows and YouTube, with his face plastered on highway billboards.