Thailand approves first spot Bitcoin ETF for wealthy investors

abdelaziz Fathi

Thailand has approved its inaugural spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), marking its entry into the growing list of nations that support regulated Bitcoin investment vehicles.

The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has authorized One Asset Management (ONEAM) to introduce the Bitcoin ETF, as reported by the Bangkok Post. The ONE Bitcoin ETF Fund is scheduled to be available to investors from May 31 to June 6.

The ETF will cater exclusively to wealthy and institutional investors, following regulatory adjustments in April that allowed Bitcoin ETFs aimed at professional investors. ONEAM intends to allocate the fund across 11 major global Bitcoin funds to ensure robust liquidity and security. This approach is said to offer exposure to Bitcoin within a regulated framework, mitigating risks such as theft associated with direct cryptocurrency ownership.

“Digital assets are an alternative asset that have low correlation with other financial assets. They are suitable to help investors diversify investment risks,” said Pote Harinasuta, chief executive of ONEAM.

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While ONEAM has secured approval, MFC Asset Management, another Thai firm, is still awaiting regulatory clearance for its planned Bitcoin ETF. Both offerings will be restricted to qualified investors.

Thailand’s approval follows similar moves by other countries. The US SEC approved several Bitcoin ETFs in January, which spurred increased interest. Additionally, jurisdictions like Hong Kong, Australia, and the UK have launched spot Bitcoin ETFs or comparable products.

These ETFs provide a regulated means of gaining exposure to Bitcoin’s price movements without the need to directly handle the cryptocurrency, making them more accessible to professional investors and institutions.

On the retail front, Thai authorities announced that they will block access to unauthorized cryptocurrency platforms.

Thailand’s SEC has been directed to compile and submit a list of such platforms to the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, which will facilitate the blocking of these platforms following court approval.

The SEC acknowledges the impact on users and announced a grace period allowing them time to manage and withdraw their assets from these unauthorized services.

The regulatory move is part of a broader strategy to balance the promotion of the crypto ecosystem with fraud prevention measures. Thailand has previously adopted crypto-friendly policies, such as exempting crypto trading gains from the 7% value-added tax and permitting local investment in U.S. spot bitcoin ETFs. However, it has also maintained strict controls, requiring crypto custodians to have contingency plans in place.

The regulator accused in February former Zipmex Thailand director and CEO, Ekkalarp Yimwilai with corruption and deception. The SEC’s investigation also highlights discrepancies between the reports submitted by Zipmex Thailand and the information the regulator obtained.

Earlier last month, Thailand’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Bitkub saod plans to list in the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) as early as 2025. Bitkub’s owner is hiring financial advisers to facilitate its planned initial public offering (IPO) listing. Srupsrisopa said this strategic step would help attract new capital while elevating Bitkub’s market presence.

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