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Thailand Crypto Exchange Zipmex Halts Trading Until 2024

Zipmex customers are unable to trade on the exchange until 31 January 2024 as it complies with Thailand's SEC regulations

Photo by Marcus Urbenz / Unsplash

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Following months of despair, Zipmex Exchange has suspended all digital asset activities until 31 January 2024.

The move comes as the Thailand exchange complies with regulations set by the country's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC Thailand).

Effective from 25 November, the suspension prevents any customer action on the platform. Those wishing to withdraw are advised to contact Zipmex directly.

Zipmex has been facing a slew of issues including delayed payouts, liquidity problems and SEC investigations. In September 2022, the SEC filed a police report against the exchange for breaching compliance laws.

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Thailand’s SEC is hot at Zipex’s heels again. This time it’s accusing the embattled exchange of operating as a fund manager without permission.

The exchange faced liquidity issues due to its exposure to failed crypto lenders Babel Finance and Celsius Network, and has been working on restructuring plans ever since.

Earlier this year, Zipmex suffered a significant setback as V Ventures, its Thai buyout investor, cancelled a US$100 million deal to rescue the company and return customer funds.

V Ventures has demanded a clawback of US$4.6 million it invested in Zipmex for working capital, dealing another blow to Zipmex’s 70,000 customer-creditors who were waiting for the return of their trapped crypto assets.

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The cancellation of the deal is another blow to Zipmex’s 70,000 customer-creditors who are waiting for the return of their trapped crypto assets.

In May, Zipmex co-founder Akalarp Yimwilai exited the exchange just months after a Singapore court approved a two-month extension to Zipmex's debt restructuring moratorium. 

The specific causes behind Yimwilai's departure remain uncertain but Zipmex and Yimwilai were fined 11 million baht ($319,000) by the Thailand Securities and Exchange Commission for purported breaches of laws pertaining to digital asset trading. These regulatory hurdles only serve to exacerbate the exchange's predicament, creating additional obstacles in its quest for survival.

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The once-promising platform, which has been fighting to save itself from financial ruin, has faced yet another setback.

Thailand's crypto market has been making headlines recently as major players vie for dominance in this rapidly growing industry. Karibornbank (K-Bank), the country's second-biggest bank, acquired a 97% stake in Thai crypto exchange Satang for 3.705 billion Thai baht ($102.8 million) through its new subsidiary Unita Capital.

This acquisition positions K-Bank to offer a wider range of crypto-related services and leverage Satang's expertise. The exchange will be rebranded as Orbix and will include three new subsidiaries aimed at expanding its digital assets services, the company said in an announcement.

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K-Bank’s acquisition of Satang underscores the growing interest of traditional financial institutions in digital assets in the country. Also, AsiaNext expands, HKMA completes phase 1 of its eHKD CBDC, and Animoca receives Saudi Investment

Thailand is ranked 10th on the 2023 Global Crypto Adoption Index by Chainalysis, joining its Southeast Asian neighbours Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia as among the top crypto-owning nations globally.

Financial regulator SEC Thailand has been clamping down on the digital asset industry amid the sector's growth – it issued new regulations for custody providers in May 2023, and previously banned crypto firms from offering staking and lending services and established stricter crypto advertising rules.