Regulator nixes launch of Bitcoin ETFs
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Regulator nixes launch of Bitcoin ETFs

A representation of Bitcoin presented in an illustration released on Jan 11. (Photo: Reuters)
A representation of Bitcoin presented in an illustration released on Jan 11. (Photo: Reuters)

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says it does not plan to allow asset management firms to launch spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in Thailand at the moment after its US counterpart approved the establishment of 11 Bitcoin ETFs last week.

On Jan 11, the US SEC approved rule changes to allow the creation of listed ETFs, marking a turning point for the world's largest cryptocurrency and the broader crypto industry. Among the 11 approved ETF issuers is BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager.

The approval has prompted Thai securities brokerage firms to encourage Thai investors to invest in US spot Bitcoin ETFs directly.

"The SEC has been following these developments closely but we do not have a policy to allow spot Bitcoin ETFs to be established in Thailand for the time being," the regulator said.

Licensed spot Bitcoin ETFs allow investors to invest in the cryptocurrency through mutual funds registered with the stock exchange under the SEC's supervision. The SEC, however, has maintained that Thai investors can invest in digital assets through domestic exchanges that have been licensed by the SEC under the Digital Assets Decree for investors' benefits of fair and transparent trading, the Thai regulator noted.

Currently, there are nine licensed digital asset exchange operators providing investment services in cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, under the exchange's listing rules, it added.

There are various regulations to protect investors. For example, digital asset operators are required to have a digital wallet management system and cryptographic keys to ensure business efficiency and the customers' digital assets are well protected, said the SEC.

"Securities companies can provide services to retail customers to invest in foreign products, but they must have the same characteristics as products that can be offered for sale in Thailand," said the regulator.

In this regard, the SEC has stressed that business operators must ensure investors are receiving appropriate investment advice. Spot Bitcoin ETFs are still in early stages overseas and may not yet create direct economic value appropriate to the current Thai context.

The SEC said it would like to monitor developments, supervision and operations in various areas to further develop policy guidelines for ETF supervision.

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