Thai regulator clamps down on NFTs, meme tokens on exchanges

Financial regulators in Thailand have banned trading in NFTs and meme tokens on cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the country in an attempt to stamp out supposedly riskier elements of trading digital assets.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is responsible for overseeing the regulation of digital currency exchange in Thailand, said digital asset platforms are no longer able to handle meme-based tokens, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and exchange-traded tokens to trade tokens with immediate effect.

The ban includes tokens like Dogecoin, originally a joke token that has now gained prominence in crypto communities online, as well as NFTs, unique tokens that are used to represent digital files and media, according to the Bangkok Post report.

SEC Secretary-General Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol set out some key characteristics for banned tokens – those that have no clear target with prices being influenced by social media, fan- or influencer-based tokens, any unique token that is not against an equivalent can be exchanged, and any token issued directly by a digital asset exchange.

Digital forex exchanges subject to the decision will have 30 days to comply with the decree, at which point authorities will be expected to step in and formally cancel tokens that do not yet meet their compliance requirements.

The steps taken by Thai regulators are in line with other countries around the world showing growing caution towards digital currency trading, speculation and dubious tokens. This week, Italy’s regulator warned of the impact of digital tokens on overall economic stability, while colleagues in the Netherlands called for a complete ban on digital tokens after declaring they would never gain dominance over fiat currencies.

The Thai position marks the latest attempt by local authorities to impose controls on the domestic digital currency market amid concerns about the impact of speculation and token trading on the country’s entire financial system.

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