Thailand’s vibrant digital asset scene was shaken earlier this month when its most popular exchange unexpectedly announced an imminent closure. The news left crypto traders dazed and confused and fearing a wider crackdown from the military dominated government.
A Dark Day For Thai Crypto
September 2 was a dark day for the crypto industry in the Asian nation as its most popular exchange told clients they had a month to clear out their accounts. The only explanation BX Thailand gave to its large customer base was that it wanted to ‘focus on other business opportunities’, which made little sense since the SEC registered exchange was clearly successful.
The panic that ensued caused the price of Bitcoin to trade at ten percent lower than the rest of the world on the exchange as Thai traders dumped digital assets. BTC price dropped as low as $9,000 on BX as fears of a failure to liquidate escalated.
Two weeks later and the situation is still no clearer. The company has yet to come forward with any real reasoning for the move and attempts to reach management have been unsuccessful according to the Bangkok Post.
Bitcoin Co. was launched in 2013 and a year later bx.in.th was created to provide a trading platform for crypto assets. The firm was a pioneer in the industry at the time and one of the first to become officially authorized by the Finance Ministry.
Speculation has grown over the snap closure and competing platforms suggest that BX may have been bamboozled by bureaucracy. Specifically, an unfeasible level of daily transaction reporting required by regulators.
Founder of Satang Corporation Co., Poramin Insom, suggested that the company just may not have been prepared for this epic workload or what it considered client privacy violations.
“BX [Bitcoin Co] may be worried about providing customer information and trading information to the SEC on a daily basis,”
Competition in the Kingdom has increased and rival platform Bitkub chief executive, Jirayut Srupsrisopa, suggested that this may have been the cause. However, this is very unlikely though since BX was already the market leader, and they do not usually just shut up shop because of a new exchange or two opening up.
President and chief executive at the ACIS Professional Centre, Prinya Hom-anek, believes more clarity is required from regulators.
“We need market surveillance like the stock exchange has. There will definitely be future revisions [of the digital asset royal decree]. This is a case study, watched closely by global actors, for the SEC’s next move,”
Yet again, regulation and excessive bureaucracy appears to have been the catalyst for another crypto closure. Thailand’s newly appointed military backed government has an unhealthy obsession with reporting and officialdom. The regime has recently implemented a country wide crackdown on the movements of its large expatriate community which has sent many of them packing.
If crypto exchanges are its next target, BX will not be the first to close its digital doors or seek friendlier climes.