Trading on local exchanges surges to B14.8bn this month

Trading on local exchanges surges to B14.8bn this month

The sign of the Securities and Exchange Commission is seen outside the office on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road. (Bangkok Post photo)
The sign of the Securities and Exchange Commission is seen outside the office on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road. (Bangkok Post photo)

Trading in cryptocurrency in Thailand reached 14.8 billion baht during the period Jan 1, 2020 to Jan 24 of this year on seven exchanges, according to data disclosed publicly for the first time by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Three of the exchanges included in this figure only began their operations at the weekend.

Bitkub, the country's largest cryptocurrency exchange, on Saturday submitted an improvement plan to the SEC and has resumed services on its website after a brief shutdown.

Bitkub had trouble keeping up with a large spike in trading volume after the value of bitcoin surpassed 1 million baht, attracting hordes of new investors and causing brief service outages on the platform. 

The SEC ordered the exchange to revise its operational procedures to more reliably facilitate new trading by Jan 23 and the firm has complied by sending the regulator an improvement plan.

The plan is currently under review by the SEC, and Bitkub resumed trading via its website over the weekend, according to SEC assistant secretary-general Archinee Pattamasukhon.

Ms Archinee said there are 400,000 active accounts trading cryptocurrency in Thailand, most of which are on Bitkup.

A source at the SEC, who requested anonymity, said some investors had switched to other exchanges as they were unable to open accounts on Bitkub while it was shut down.

A large group of investors are also still waiting for Know Your Customer (KYC) applications to be processed in order to be able to start trading on Thai cryptocurrency exchanges.

All six cryptocurrency exchanges licensed by the SEC are now fully operational, three of which opened this past weekend. One licensed exchange, BX, closed its operations last year.

Upbit Exchange (Thailand), a joint-venture digital asset exchange between Upbit APAC Pte and a group of Thai billionaires, launched last week shortly after it received an SEC licence. Z.comEX and Huobi are two lower profile newcomers that also recently received licences and began trading.

Jirayut Srupsrisopa, chief executive of Bitkub Capital Group Holdings, said the company has revised its work system and submitted documents to the SEC last week. The company has resumed trading services on its website and the application process.

He said trading has increased rapidly during the current month, and the trading system had failed to scale with the level of demand, causing some users to complain to the SEC.

Mr Jirayut said the trading volume increased from an average of 200-300 million baht per day in 2020 to 700 million baht in December of last year and had surged to 4.5 billion baht in the first week of this month alone, straining existing systems.

The firm set a 1,000% growth target at the end of 2020, but this had been met quicker than expected. It will offer commission-free investing during Jan 25-31 with conditions attached.

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