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Zipmex crypto exchange halts trading operations in Thailand

zipmex-crypto-exchange-halts-trading-operations-in-thailand
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Zipmex crypto exchange halts trading operations in Thailand

Zipmex Exchange has decided to suspend all digital asset trading activities in Thailand until Jan. 31, 2024.

The decision, which took effect on Nov. 25, at 1:00 PM, was made in accordance with local regulations set by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Thailand.

The decision to halt trading and depositing of assets was made to ensure compliance with the regulatory requirements established by the SEC Thailand. Customers who wish to withdraw funds or assets during this period are instructed to contact the exchange directly.

This suspension comes as Zipmex faces various challenges, including delays in customer payments, liquidity issues, and ongoing investigations by the SEC in Thailand.

In September 2022, the SEC filed a local police report against Zipmex, alleging noncompliance with local laws and accusing the exchange and its co-founder Akalarp Yimwilai of operating outside digital asset business regulations without permission from the SEC. The accusations included persuading customers to use Singapore-based Zipmex Pte.

Despite the suspension, customers can still withdraw; Thai baht and digital assets from their trade Wallet via the website and mobile application until Jan. 31, 2024. However, for digital assets categorized as ‘Trade Only,’ customers need to contact Customer Support for withdrawal.

On April 18,  Zipmex faced delays in paying its customers as it aimed to maximize returns for customers. The exchange sought another extension to prolong the moratorium on its debt in Singapore, citing liquidity issues.

Simultaneously, on Jan. 10, Zipmex became the subject of a new investigation by the SEC of Thailand for violating new local regulations.

Subsequently, on Jan. 11, Zipmex was reportedly given a one-day deadline by the SEC to admit or deny whether it had been operating as a digital asset fund manager without the necessary permission.

These investigations into Zipmex had been ongoing for some time, with the SEC highlighting that the exchange had failed to provide information on digital wallets and crypto transactions in compliance with the country’s Digital Assets Act.

This decision by Zipmex follows the recent approval of four crypto firms by the Thai SEC, despite the challenges faced by Zipmex. 

Additionally, Gulf Binance, a joint venture between Gulf Innova and Binance, is expected to begin its digital asset business operations in Thailand soon, adding to the competition among nine other crypto exchanges, including Zipmex.

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Enhancing investor protection

Thailand has implemented several reforms concerning cryptocurrency exchanges and digital assets. These changes include the Emergency Decree on Digital Asset Businesses (B.E. 2561, 2018), which classifies digital assets into three categories: cryptocurrencies, digital tokens, and other digital assets. This decree applies to individuals, businesses, and exchanges operating within Thailand.

Another significant development is the licensing of cryptocurrency exchanges. In 2019, the Ministry of Finance granted licenses to four cryptocurrency exchanges, positioning Thailand as one of the few countries globally with a regulated cryptocurrency exchange market. Licensed exchanges are required to adhere to strict anti-money laundering and know-your-customer regulations.

In April 2022, the Thai SEC imposed a ban on cryptocurrencies as a method of payment, citing financial security concerns. These reforms collectively aim to enhance investor protection, strike a balance between supervising and fostering the development of the crypto industry, and ensure that digital assets are not being used for illicit activities such as money laundering, terrorism financing, and tax evasion.

Elsewhere, in the U.S., the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has actively pursued regulatory reforms to adapt to the rapidly changing financial markets and uphold investor protection.

Last July, the regulator made amendments to the rule allowing certain investment advisers providing services through the Internet to register with the Commission. 

These proposed changes necessitate an investment adviser relying on the Internet adviser registration rule to maintain an operational interactive website, offering digital investment advisory services continuously to more than one client.

Additionally, the amendments eliminate the de minimis exception from the current rule, requiring an internet investment adviser to provide advice exclusively to all clients through an operational interactive website. Corresponding modifications to Form ADV were also proposed.

Earlier this year, the SEC introduced a proposal to enhance the regulation of private fund advisers, incorporating accounting and auditing requirements. The SEC’s comprehensive plan aims to finalize a proposed rule that enhances confidential reporting for private fund advisers, particularly those managing large hedge funds. These changes are designed to assist the Financial Stability Oversight Council in more effectively monitoring risks.

Further, in November 2021, the SEC issued a proposal to increase transparency in securities lending, mandating broker-dealers to disclose more information about the securities they lend to short sellers.

In December 2021, the SEC also proposed a series of reforms to money market funds, marking its most significant effort to reform the industry since the post-2007-2008 financial crisis reforms.

Originally proposed in response to the stresses experienced by money market funds in March 2020 due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, these amendments address strains in short-term funding markets and substantial redemptions, primarily from institutional prime money market funds.

As a major breakthrough in its crypto regulatory efforts, the dreaded regulator recently reached an over $4 billion settlement with Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, and its co-founder Changpeng Zhao.