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Thailand OKs Bitcoin ETFs as Restrictions on Listed Cryptos Ease Globally – CryptoCurrencyWire


Thai authorities have announced a shift in their approach to digital asset investment, permitting money managers to introduce private funds dedicated to U.S. Bitcoin spot exchange-traded funds (ETFs). However, this allowance extends solely to institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals.

Though its usage is still restricted, retail cryptocurrency trading is nonetheless widespread in the nation. In 2022, the government prohibited the use of cryptos for payments, and in July last year, it prohibited their use for investment and lending.

In an earlier stance articulated in January, regulatory bodies explicitly prohibited investment companies from directly engaging in Bitcoin ETFs for their clientele. However, last week, Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosed a reversal of this directive after consultations with investment entities.

Pornanong Budsaratragoon, secretary general of the SEC, announced the change and acknowledged the requests of asset-management companies looking to gain exposure to digital assets, including Bitcoin and Bitcoin spot ETFs. She did, however, stress that due to the considerable dangers that come with investing in digital assets, caution must be exercised.

The price of Bitcoin soared to unprecedented heights this week, breaching the $72,000 mark. Notably, since its inception, BlackRock’s Bitcoin spot ETF has amassed assets of more than $10 billion, demonstrating the growing demand for cryptocurrency-related financial products.

Thailand’s regulatory adjustment reflects a broader trend of global regulators easing constraints on listed cryptocurrency products.

Concurrently, the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced its approval for exchange-traded notes linked to Ethereum and Bitcoin, scheduled for listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSEG).

Despite burgeoning asset managers and investor interest in crypto ETFs across Asia, regulatory attitudes have remained ambivalent. Notably, following the landmark approval in several countries, including Thailand, cautioned against engagement with such products, a move that Australian cryptocurrency exchange Swyftx’s COO, Jason Titman, termed “unprecedented.”

Singapore swiftly dismissed the prospect of a local ETF market, urging caution for those contemplating trading in overseas markets. In South Korea, regulatory sentiment fluctuated, initially warning against the U.S. Bitcoin spot ETF’s potential illegality before hinting at potential reconsideration. With elections approaching, the main political parties in the nation have expressed interest in cryptocurrency exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The ruling party, however, has since notably distanced itself from the concept.

In Hong Kong, local regulators are presently reviewing applications from companies seeking to introduce ETFs, with some optimism for approval of an Ether spot ETF ahead of the U.S. market. This dynamic landscape underscores the evolving regulatory stance toward cryptocurrency-based financial instruments globally.

As the attitude of regulators around the world warms to crypto products, exchanges like Coinbase Global Inc. (NASDAQ: COIN) could see their penetration of different markets growing at a fast pace over the coming years.

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