Thailand to target DeFi in latest regulatory clampdown

A new DeFi yield farming platform in Thailand has rattled regulators.

In their latest effort to regulate the cryptocurrency industry, Thailand’s financial regulators have turned their sights towards decentralized finance, or DeFi.

According to a June 1 report from Bangkok Post, Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that any activities related to DeFi may require a license from the financial regulator in the near future. The SEC specifically stated it will target DeFi protocols that issue tokens.

The latest regulatory push comes after the launch of the native token for Thai DeFi protocol, Tuktuk Finance, on the smart contract platform operated by popular local crypto exchange Bitkub on Sunday.

The report noted that prices had skyrocketed to “several hundred dollars” before collapsing to $1 within just a few minutes. According to the platform’s official website, the protocol has attracted a total value locked, or TVL, of $18 million, with the TUK token last trading at $1.93 to give the project a market cap of $7.1 million.

It is the first time that the SEC has specifically targeted DeFi, with the regulator stating:

“The issuance of digital tokens must be authorised and overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the issuer is required to disclose information and offer the coins through the token portals licensed under the Digital Asset Decree.”

CEO of Ava Advisor, an investment robo-advisor app, Niran Pravithana, commented that the announcement is reasonable as there are many fraudulent tokens issued and criminals can hide in messenger applications such as Telegram and manipulate the token prices.

Centralized banks are among those that have embraced DeFi in Thailand, with the Siam Commercial Bank announcing a $50 million investment fund in February, and Kbank experimenting with DeFi services as part of its business expansion plan in April.

As reported by Cointelegraph in April, crypto adoption in Thailand has been booming with an increase of almost 600% since November. DeFi has also grown in popularity, with The Defiant recently reporting that the country ranked second worldwide by search traffic for the keyword “decentralized finance” over the past year.

Regulators in the kingdom responded in May, unveiling plans to curb new crypto exchange account creation with stringent in-person KYC requirements beginning in July. The measure will also prevent foreign investors from accessing Thai exchanges as they are unable to secure local ID cards.

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