A major financial regulator in Thailand is looking to determine qualifications for cryptocurrency traders to ensure investor protection.
The Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand has scheduled a public hearing this month to address specific requirements for investors that want to open a crypto trading account, local news agency The Bangkok Post reports Feb. 15.
By initiating the new qualification system, Thai SEC intends to ensure that new retail investors moving into crypto trading have sufficient financial resources to absorb risks from highly volatile prices of crypto.
Thai SEC’s secretary-general Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol hinted that Thailand’s upcoming crypto investor qualification could involve requirements like age, trading experience, financial knowledge, as well as certain wealth levels:
“Cryptocurrencies have high risks for investors. We should set some screening criteria such as age, trading experience and level of revenue or wealth to limit risks. These limits already exist for high-yield bonds, which are only available to some types of investors.”
The official also noted crypto investors should be well-informed about the risks of cryptocurrency trading. “Digital assets are a big challenge, not only in Thailand but for global regulators,” she added.
The new qualification system apparently came under the impetus of Thai Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith who asked the SEC to supervise local digital exchanges to protect new investors. Local authorities are specifically concerned about novice crypto investors moving into the industry amid a massive surge of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC).
Last week, Termpittayapaisith expressed concerns about surging crypto trading volumes in Thailand, warning investors of massive risks associated with crypto trading. “Cryptocurrencies have enormous risk. Risk awareness will help those investors in avoiding excessive speculation on those assets,” the official said.
According to data collected by The Bangkok Post, crypto purchases by Thai retail investors have been consistently increasing from 500 million baht ($16.7 million) in November 2020 to 1.1 billion baht ($40 million) in January 2021. The SEC reportedly said that the number of new crypto investors surged by 124,000 accounts in the first week of February, totaling at nearly 600,000 accounts as of Feb. 8.
According to the data, Bitcoin was the most traded cryptocurrency on Thai exchanges in January, accounting for over 40% of total trading volume. The cryptocurrency is followed by Ether (ETH) with about 24%, Dogecoin (DOGE) and XRP, accounting for 19% and 12%, respectively.