Bangkok lauded as global hub for cryptocurrencies
published : 7 Feb 2023 at 04:05
newspaper section: Business
writer: Nareerat Wiriyapong
Bangkok has emerged as the world's 10th largest crypto hub, according to new research from cryptocurrency tax software company Recap.
The Crypto Readiness Index, compiled by Recap, ranks Bangkok as 10th in the world as the Thai capital has attracted 57 crypto companies. Recap said Thailand has the world's second-highest rate of crypto ownership.
"While Thailand banned the use of cryptocurrencies as a method of payment last March, the regulation doesn't affect trading or investment activity," said Daniel Howitt, co-founder and chief executive of Recap, but he warned against the Thai regulator's move to impose more stringent rules.
"Like many countries, Thailand is tightening its rules on the trading of crypto and advertising of digital assets, too. With stricter rules in place, it'll be interesting to see whether this helps or hinders Bangkok's place as a crypto hub in the coming months."
In addition, Bangkok lags behind when it comes to R&D spending and the number of crypto companies based there. More investment in these areas could advance its position as a global crypto hub, noted Mr Howitt.
Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong are also in the world's top 10 markets, at second, fourth and seventh, respectively. Sydney ranks 18th, followed by Osaka at 19th and Kuala Lumpur at 20th, according to Recap.
Others in the top 10 are New York (3), Los Angeles (5), Switzerland's Zug (6), Paris (8) and Vancouver (9).
The index comprises eight criteria, including the number of crypto workers and companies, crypto meet-ups, quality of life score, and R&D spend as a percentage of GDP, in each city.
London, home to over 800 crypto-based companies, took first place as the world's leading crypto hub with the highest number of people working in the crypto industry. Dubai makes it to second place as it pushes to become the leading centre for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in the Middle East, following a year of new laws allowing crypto exchanges to operate in the city.
Singapore, with 25% of its population owning crypto, has over 1,000 people working in the industry and 800 crypto-based companies. The city-state does not require investors to pay capital gains tax.
"Global use of crypto has skyrocketed in recent years, by almost 400% between 2020 and 2022. Benefits such as low ownership cost, anonymity and safe and fast transactions, are the factors that accelerate the rise of the digital asset in global markets in 2023 and beyond," Recap noted in the report.