The Fintech Festival Thailand 2023, a networking event that covers a broad spectrum of industrial topics, including banking, payments, personal finance, digital assets, Web3, blockchain, and investments, faced an interruption when the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) in Bangkok raided the venue.
This action by the CIB underscores Thailand’s regulatory oversight of financial entities in the fintech sector.
Many forex-binary option booths were present at the event, courtesy of the main sponsors. However, the festivities took a serious turn when the CIB intervened on the first day, September 28, attempting to detain numerous individuals present.
Regulatory repercussions echo globally
The CIB’s decisive action at the festival echoes a larger narrative of regulatory caution extending beyond Thailand’s borders. Countries worldwide are grappling with finding the right balance between fostering fintech innovation and ensuring investor protection— and Thailand is no exception.
Financial regulators in Thailand, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), have been proactive in regulating financial entities and digital asset service providers. The Thai SEC released new guidelines, effective from July 31, 2023, to mandate explicit risk warnings for customers. The regulatory body banned the use of customers’ funds for lending or investment.
According to the SEC, this proactive approach intends to cushion investors against high-risk crypto-trading and investments. The rules come after a large-scale crypto lending crisis that occurred during the bear market of 2022. A number of crypto lending companies had amassed billions of dollars in customer deposits by offering attractive returns but failed to deliver during the bear market. Prominent lending firms like Celsius and BlockFi went bankrupt, leaving investors with funds stuck in lengthy bankruptcy proceedings.