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Welcome to this week's edition of Bangkok Block, your go-to source for the latest updates from Thailand's ever-evolving crypto landscape.
Five Arrested in 2.7 Billion Baht Crypto Scam
In the latest in a string of cryptocurrency-related arrests, Thai authorities nabbed five suspects, including four Chinese nationals and one Lao citizen, in connection with a massive crypto scam amounting to over 2.7 billion baht (US$76 million). The scheme first came to light in 2022, when victims pleaded for assistance in recovering stolen funds. Thailand’s Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau initiated the investigation in collaboration with the United States Department of Homeland Security.
The accused have been charged with multiple offenses, including falsifying information, public fraud, international crime, and money laundering through the crypto investment platform “bchgloballtd.com.” The platform scammed at least 3,280 victims into believing they were investing in gold and cryptocurrencies like USDT, with some investing their life savings or taking loans on their property for the promise of get-rich-quick schemes.
The Anti-Money Laundering Office has seized assets worth 585 million baht, and the Office of the Attorney General has initiated prosecution proceedings against the suspects. To protect the public from fraudulent schemes, the CCIB advises the public to verify the authenticity of investment platforms and exercise caution when investing in cryptocurrencies. Victims of such scams are encouraged to report their complaints through official channels provided by the CCIB.
Thailand Ranks 10th in Global Crypto Adoption
Thailand is ranked 10th on the 2023 Global Crypto Adoption Index by Chainalysis, joining its Southeast Asian neighbors Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia as among the top crypto-owning nations globally.
The ranking evaluated 154 countries using five key criteria. These included transaction volumes across various cryptocurrency services, as well as web traffic to these services' websites. The metrics covered overall crypto activity, individual transactions on centralized exchanges, peer-to-peer trade volumes, and decentralized finance (DeFi) transaction volumes.
The report also shows that worldwide grassroots crypto adoption is down compared to previous years, except in lower middle income countries, where grassroots adoption has seen a strong recovery.
MetaTdex Conference Explores New Horizons in DeFi and Cross-Chain Technology
Industry leaders in SaaS and Web3 gathered in Bangkok for the "MetaTdex Creates New Paradigm of Web 3.0 Economy" conference hosted by the smart contract-based decentralized trading platform. The event also drew venture capitalists and government officials into engaging discussions about the future of decentralized finance.
During the conference, MetaTdex highlighted the merits of its Timing Operating System, which enables cross-chain interoperability of gas coins. TOS aims to enhance both cross-chain integration and on-chain DApp services in MetaTdex’s expanded ecosystem, which includes GameFi and metaverse applications. Moreover, MetaTdex introduced trading as a form of investment in the DeFi space by rewarding its users for transacting through the platform.
The conference was a sneak peak into the potential of integrating blockchain technology with traditional SaaS businesses, paving the way for conventional companies to venture into the Web3 arena.
Tuesday, September 19: Catch the AI Community meetup by Blue Resources X TFA at Siam Paragon and hear industry leaders discuss the intersection between AI, crypto, and finance.
Thursday, September 21: Learn more about the potential benefits of transforming physical assets to digital tokens at the Digital Assets and Tokenisation live panel by Cosmos & Co. BKK at the Workshop Restaurant, Bangkok.
September 25-29: You won’t want to miss the Thailand Fintech Festival, the country’s most anticipated gathering for Web3, crypto, and fintech.
If you're around, please drop me a line! And feel free to reach out if you're in Thailand and have an exciting story or project you'd like to talk about.