10 firms seek to capitalise on BX closure
Bitcoin Co Ltd's recent closure announcement is unlikely to have a negative effect on Thailand's digital asset industry because there are about 10 other companies applying to become authorised digital asset exchanges, says the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Bitcoin Co's decision to cease its business operations could be because it does not want to be involved with regulated digital asset transactions, which could be inconvenient for some customers, said SEC IT adviser Bhume Bhumiratana.
"Companies vying to become authorised digital asset exchanges represent an interest in the digital business in Thailand and seeing an opportunity for growth under the existing regulatory framework," Mr Bhume said.
The digital asset royal decree is designed to protect investors' interests and enhance transparency for the digital asset trade, he said.
Authorised digital asset exchanges are required to disclose high-value transactions to the SEC and the Anti-Money Laundering Office.
Bitcoin Co on Monday announced that it would cease its operations at the end of this month "to focus on other business opportunities", igniting a price slump for digital assets traded on the exchange.
"The company will not seek to hold a SEC licence for digital asset exchanges for 2020, and we ask all customers to withdraw their funds before Nov 1, 2019," Bitcoin Co said on its website. "After Nov 1, 2019, the company will operate the bx.in.th website only as a method for customers to contact the company about outstanding issues."
All deposits will be disabled after Sept 6, 2019.
SEC secretary-general Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol said Bitcoin Co's closure announcement is based on the company's decision not to be involved in the regulatory sphere.
Further monitoring has to be made whether the company will launch its operations somewhere else or conduct a new type of digital asset transaction, Ms Ruenvadee said.
The SEC has set up a temporary assistance centre for investors seeking support and advice on withdrawal and transfer of digital assets.
The help centre can be contacted by dialling 1207 followed by pressing 7 for an extension number, or email email@example.com.