Why you can trust us

Engadget has been testing and reviewing consumer tech since 2004. Our stories may include affiliate links; if you buy something through a link, we may earn a commission. Read more about how we evaluate products.

Thailand bans meme coins and NFTs as part of crypto crackdown

It says some coins have “no clear objective or substance or underlying” value.

Edgar Su / reuters

Thailand is the latest country to impose curbs on cryptocurrency trading. The southeast Asian nation's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has implemented a ban on meme coins like Dogecoin. Last week, exchanges were ordered to delist the coins, along with NFTs, utility tokens and social tokens, within 30 days.

According to the Thai SEC, the new rules are aimed at protecting traders from tokens that have "no clear objective or substance" and whose prices are swayed by social media trends and influencers. Dogecoin, in particular, has seen its online buzz skyrocket thanks to mentions from Elon Musk (including during his stint hosting SNL). The so-called meme coin's price has fluctuated more recently amid crypto volatility fuelled by bans in China and potential restrictions in India. On the flip side, El Salvador recently became the first nation to accept Bitcoin as legal tender.

Alongside Dogecoin, NFTs (non-fungible tokens) were also all the rage earlier this year. The assets essentially allow for one-of-a-kind digital art purchases to be tokenized, thereby acting as certificates for ownership. A few months ago, they were impossible to ignore, riding a wave of hype after Twitter's Jack Dorsey and Grimes sold their respective NFTs for millions. But, more recently, mainstream interest in the assets has waned as celebs have opportunistically jumped on the bandwagon and quickly diluted a once eye-catching market.

In addition, the Thai SEC announced it's also banning exchange tokens, reports Decrypt. These are the proprietary coins issued by crypto exchanges that can be used to trade and pay fees.

The latest crackdown is part of Thailand's push for regulatory reform of the crypto market. In May, the Thai Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) announced rules instructing digital exchanges to verify accounts through a "dip-chip" machine that requires clients to be physically present. In addition, AMLO said the documents would be verified by relevant government agencies, according to the Bangkok Post.