SEC approves four new digital asset operators despite problems faced with Zipmex

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Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) granted operating licenses to four more digital asset operators after the Zipmex saga.

The four new operators include:

  • Krungthai XSpring (KTX) – a broker
  • T-BOX (Thailand) – an exchange
  • Coindee – an advisor and fund manager
  • Leif Capital Asset Management – a fund manager

Despite being granted the operating licenses, all four companies have yet to begin their operation as the next step is for the SEC to inspect their operating system before they can fully open for business.

This bring the total number of digital asset operators that have been granted a license to operate in Thailand to 21 including 3 fund managers, 9 exchanges and 9 brokers.

Apart from this, another major player is waiting to enter the market. Gulf Innova and Binance Capital Management are looking to launch “Gulf Binance” which is seeking licenses to operate as an exchange and a broker.

Gulf Innova holds 51% of the company and Binance owns the remaining 49%.

Zipmex

Zipmex (Thailand), one of the country’s leading digital asset exchanges, is currently facing investigation by the SEC on its move to suspend all of their Baht and cryptocurrency withdrawals from its digital wallet called “Z Wallet” on July 20.

The Singapore-based Zipmex is currently operating in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia and Zipmex (Thailand) was founded by Thai and Singaporean partners.

The SEC said on Monday that Zipmex (Thailand) might have violated trading rules in the country when they suspended the withdrawals because the reasons that the company gave for the suspension, including “market fluctuations”, were inadequate.

Zipmex in its defense said last week the suspension was related to problems with its ZipUp+ product while Zipmex Global in Singapore, and their trading partners including crypto lenders Babel Finance and Celsius, were experiencing liquidity problems.

The SEC has since ordered the company to resume all trading activities and Zipmex (Thailand) announced on Monday that the services within the Z-Wallet will gradually come back, starting from ADA, SOL, XRP, BTC and ETH and this will be done between this week and next week.

By Wednesday, the company said in a statement they have resumed the withdrawals for Solana’s SOL since August 2 while the withdrawal of Ripple’s XRP will begin today (August 4) and the withdrawal of Cardano’s ADA will begin on August 9.

However, the withdrawals of larger coins including Bitcoin and Ether are still locked up and withdrawals from ZipUp+ are still suspended.

Zipmex is one of the cryptocurrency companies that got hit in the US$ 2 trillion crypto crash from their exposure to Babel Finance and Celsius. Babel Finance halted withdrawals in June and Celsius filed for bankruptcy on July 13.

Nevertheless, Zipmex Thailand’s CEO Akalarp Yimwilai said on Wednesday that its parent company in Singapore had injected 180 million baht that was set aside to compensate for the loss from its investment with Celsius which is why they were able to resume the withdrawals of the smaller coins.

He said the company is also working to raise at least 2 billion baht within 3 months to compensate for the loss and give back investors their deposits.

Akalarp said there are around 120,000 and 130,000 people who invested in ZipUp+ and around 60,000 of them are Thai investors.

The SEC is still investigating the suspension of the withdrawals from Zipmex’s Z Wallet and the transfer of Thai investors’ assets to be invested in ZipUp+ in Singapore.

Investors

One of Zipmex (Thailand)’s investors, the Bank of Ayudhya, said via a statement to the Stock Exchange of Thailand on Thursday that one of the bank’s subsidiaries, Krungsri Finnovate, had invested in the digital asset exchange.

The bank said Krungsri Finnovate is currently holding a 1% stake accounting for 66 million baht or 3% of the subsidiary’s total investment portfolio but it only accounts for 0.0028% of the bank’s total assets.

“According to the aforesaid situation and Krungsri Finnovate’s investment amount in Zipmex, the Bank considered that there is no impact to the Bank’s financial position and performance. In this regard, the Bank and Krungsri Finnovate will monitor the situation closely,” the bank said.

Meanwhile, the SEC said on Wednesday that the majority of the existing 2.8 million digital asset accounts in Thailand are now idle and the number of Thai cryptocurrency trading accounts has dropped by 67% so far this year from around 707,000 accounts in December to around 230,000 accounts on July 25.

The drop was largely due to the $2 trillion crypto meltdown which pushed the global digital assets market down to $1 trillion at the moment, Bitcoin also dropped from its peak of $69,000 per coin down to around $24,000.

Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance which is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, said last week that he expects the crypto market to resurge this year because most of the speculators’ accounts are now gone and there are mostly active trading traders who believe in the assets left in the market.

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