Cambodia Regulator to License Crypto Trading

Cambodia Regulator to License Crypto Trading

Cambodian authorities announced its move to make cryptocurrency trading legal in the country by mandating investors to secure a license from them in order to purchase, sell, trade, or settle cryptocurrencies. 

In a joint statement, the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), the Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia and the General-Commissariat of National Police said they came up with this decision after seeing the growth of crypto trading in Cambodia. 

“Competent authorities have recently observed that Crypto Currencies such as KH Coin, Suncoin, K Coin, One-coin, Forex coin and other similar Crypto Currencies have been propagated, circulated, bought, sold, traded and settled actively in Cambodia,” regulators said in a two-page statement. 

These activities, if not regulated, “will cause potential risks to the publics [sic] and society as a whole.” 

“Competent authorities clarify that the propagation, circulation, buying, selling, trading and settlement of Crypto Currencies without obtaining license from competent authorities are illegal activities,” it said. 

Involvement with cryptocurrencies, according to these government agencies, can result in risk caused by price volatility, cybercrime, and insufficient consumer protections. These risks include money laundering and funding of terrorism. 

“Any person or legal entity that propagates to mobilize funds, buys, sells, trades or settles Crypto Currencies without obtaining license from competent authorities shall be penalized in accordance with applicable laws,” the statement added. 

However, authorities did not outline the requirements and procedure for obtaining a license, or the companies covered by the new directive. Some investors, however, find this latest move a notable barrier to crypto trading. 

This announcement is Cambodia’s latest move, through the NBC, to further restrict crypto-driven transactions which started in December last year. Earlier, it prohibited financial institutions from offering account services catering to crypto traders and alike. 

Until recently, the Cambodian government has refused to officially recognize cyrptocurrencies and implemented measures from trading decentralized virtual currencies including bitcoin, ethereum and, litecoin. But Cambodian citizens are not prohibited from owning these digital coins. 

Activities such as initial coin offerings (ICOs) and crypto trading continued to operate in a gray area amid the absence of laws pertaining to cryptocurrencies and clarity on the emerging technology. 

Khmer Crypto Foundation, a local association of more than 100 local cryptocurrency investors and enthusiasts, said in March they should move carefully because regulations pertaining to cryptocurrencies are not that clear. 

“It’s not clear yet whose job it is to regulate cryptocurrencies [in Cambodia]. It could fall to the NBC or the SECC, but it’s not clear yet which one it will be,” In Mean, the foundation’s founder, said. 

“I give out the coin and I always tell people that it has no value – its value is solely based on speculation,” he added, stressing the KHCoin project, launched in November last year, which he described as the first Cambodian cryptocurrency, is intended as an educational tool and not an investment asset.

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