Thailand bans joke cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens

Much bubble, none value, regulator excite

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission has banned dealing in some cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens.

A Saturday announcement prohibits digital exchanges from handling four types of tokens:

  • “Meme tokens” that the regulator characterises as having no clear purpose, no underlying value and whose prices fluctuate due to social media commentary;
  • “Fan tokens” that exist only due to the fame of influencers;
  • Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the emerging application of blockchain to signify ownership of digital assets;
  • Tokens issued by digital asset exchanges or related persons.

Digital exchanges are the target of the new rules. Individual Thais remain free to use any of the abovementioned tokens if they wish to and can find someone willing to handle their trades.

But the intent of the rules is to make it hard for exchanges that handle the trades to operate within Thailand. The final item on the Commission’s list — tokens issued by exchanges — is designed to make it hard for crypto-dealers to create tokens they use to trade among themselves, or that their customers can use to make payments for exchanges’ services.

The rules require digital exchanges to stop dealing in the banned token, or face having them yanked from their services by Thai authorities.

The Commission’s decision is seen as likely to impact even relatively mainstream tokens like Dogecoin — which has recently been the subject of odd Tweets by Elon Musk — along with other less-prominent coins. The policy motive behind the decision is a desire to reduce opportunities for money-laundering, and to ensure the stability of the nation’s financial system. ®

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