Thailand SEC opens doors to US spot Bitcoin ETFs for accredited investors

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Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission has reportedly amended its rules allowing the launch of private funds that invest in spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds traded on United States exchanges. 

However, only institutional investors and “ultra-high-net-worth individuals” will be able to invest in these private Bitcoin ETF funds, according to a March 12 report from the Bangkok Post.

Previously, regulations that govern investments of asset management firms did not cover digital asset ETFs, and under the SEC Act, asset managers are only permitted to provide trading of assets classified as securities.

However, after the United States securities regulator approved spot Bitcoin ETFs in January, shares in spot Bitcoin ETFs became defined as securities rather than crypto assets under Thai regulations.

Thai SEC secretary-general, Pornanong Budsaratragoon. Source: The Nation

SEC secretary-general Pornanong Budsaratragoon said the regulator will permit only accredited investors to have exposure to Bitcoin ETPs due to their high-risk nature.

“Asset management firms asked the SEC for them to have exposure in digital assets, especially Bitcoin and spot Bitcoin ETFs, but we need to consider carefully whether to allow asset management firms to invest in digital assets directly due to the high risk,” she told the Post.

In January, the Thailand SEC reportedly said it would not allow asset management firms to launch their own version of spot Bitcoin ETFs within the country.

Retail investors left out

However, the latest rules have left out the prospect of retail investors getting exposure to the spot Bitcoin ETFs.

Retail crypto trading remains popular in Thailand, but its usage remains restricted.

Using digital assets for payments was outlawed by the government in March 2022, and the SEC banned the use of cryptocurrencies for lending and investment in July 2023.

Related: Binance Thailand’s public launch to compete with incumbent Bitkub

Nevertheless, the regulator lifted restrictions on retail investors purchasing digital tokens backed by real estate or infrastructure projects in January.

The Kingdom’s largest crypto exchange, Bitkub, offers 107 pairs and has a daily volume of around $155 million, according to CoinGecko.

Additionally, Binance entered the Thai market with a new exchange in January, but it is only accessible to Thai nationals.

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