Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has updated its regulations, opening the door to the launch of private funds investing in Bitcoin Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) offered on US exchanges.

However, this innovative investment option is reserved exclusively for institutional investors and ultra-high-net-worth individuals, reports the Bangkok Post.

Access primarily for accredited investors

The change comes after a period in which Thailand’s asset management regulations did not provide specific guidance for ETFs based on digital assets. With the recent approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs by the US securities regulator in January, shares in such ETFs are now considered securities under Thai law, rather than crypto assets.

SEC Secretary General Pornanong Budsaratragoon explained that access to Bitcoin exchange-traded products (ETPs) will be limited to accredited investors, given the high risk profile of these products. “Demand for exposure to digital assets, particularly Bitcoin and spot Bitcoin ETFs, is growing among asset managers. However, we need to weigh the risks before allowing them to invest directly in these digital assets,” she told the Bangkok Post.

Despite a request in January from the Thailand SEC to allow asset managers to launch their own spot Bitcoin ETFs, retail investors remain excluded from direct exposure to these funds, at least for now.

Popularity of crypto trading significant

The popularity of retail crypto trading remains significant in Thailand, although the government banned the use of digital assets for payments in March 2022, followed by a ban on the use of cryptocurrencies for lending and investments in July 2023. Nevertheless, in January the SEC eased the restrictions for private investors in digital tokens, provided they are linked to real estate or infrastructure projects.

The Thai market remains dynamic with Bitkub, the country’s largest crypto exchange, offering 107 pairs with daily volume around $155 million according to CoinGecko. Moreover, Binance, a leading global crypto exchange, entered the Thai market in January with a new exchange specifically for Thai nationals.


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