New digital currency traders would be expected to introduce themselves physically when opening new accounts on exchanges in Thailand. This comes after the country’s regulators unveiled a new, more strict KYC mechanism to prevent money laundering, scams, and other illicit activities in the financial sector. The revised rules will take effect in September.
Thai exchanges currently perform the entire onboarding process online, from application to ID submission, authentication, and account opening. However, according to a Bangkok Post article, this will all change in three months.
Both exchanges must use the dip-chip machine for identity authentication, according to the Thai Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO). This computer scans a chip inserted in the Thai national identification card, which necessitates the user’s presence.
The paper claims that digital currency trade in the Southeast Asian nation has increased dramatically this year. There were almost 700,000 digital currency accounts in Thailand as of April 26, up from 160,000 at the end of 2020. The regulators are worried about the increase in consumer numbers and trade volumes.
Local exchanges have not well received the current KYC policies. Some argue that making the process more complicated would drive away new clients and stifle progress. Non-Thai traders are also concerned that the latest measures will prevent them from entering the local markets.
According to Poramin Insom, co-founder of local exchange Satang Corporation,
“Most digital asset exchanges are still busy preparing their systems to accommodate the growing number of clients as new account applications continue to flow in. However, this growth may be curbed if the application process becomes more complicated.”
He announced that Thai exchanges and wallet providers would meet at an upcoming forum to address the problem and develop suggestions on the best course of action. The Thailand Digital Asset Operators Trade Association, a local self-regulatory body, hosts the event.
Thai residents who buy gold worth 100,000 baht ($3,120) must display ID cards in addition to digital currency exchanges. Unlike the businesses, though, gold shops in Thailand have been asking users to physically express their ID for the past five years.