Thailand: Cryptocurrencies get major push as SEC approves first-ever ICO portal

The Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC] of Thailand approved the country’s first ever Initial Coin Offering [ICO], capping off a wave of cryptocurrency adoption in the country.

As reported by a local news daily on 12 March, the Board of Directors of Thailand’s financial regulator gave a green light to the ICO portal. This decision will allow the portal to screen ICOs, conduct necessary background checks, confirm source codes, and ensure KYC norms are adhered to.

The Director of the Fintech Department at the SEC, Archari Suppiroj, said that the final approval of the ICO portal lay with the Thailand Commerce Ministry, and other relevant government agencies, an approval he deemed to be imminent.

Suppiroj added that the company that will operate the ICO portal is not registered in Thailand and is a foreign company. However, the Director did not mention any names in reference to the same, but stated that around eight companies were considered for the pre-consultation phase with the SEC to operate the portals.

She stated,

“The first ICO deal will be available for public offering in the near future under the digital asset royal decree.”

Coins and tokens are not on the same plateau, according to the country’s financial watchdog, with regulatory pressure still on the Security Token Offerings (STO). Suppiroj stated that STO introduction was prohibited as transactions relating to securities fell under a different law.

Suppiroj stated that the ICO market in Thailand saw a wave of improvement, from being project-based to being backed by actual assets. She added,

“In the future, the SEC will issue a criteria that allows companies to apply tokenisation to securities and other assets.”

In December 2018, the financial watchdog had announced plans to reduce the regulatory pressure surrounding ICOs. Tipsuda Thavaramara, the former General Secretary of the SEC called this proposition,

“An attempt to find greater equilibrium in the regulatory process and reduce regulatory impediments.”

Recently, Thailand’s SEC trimmed down the list of cryptocurrencies that could be used as an investment tool in the country’s ICO market and as base trading pairs. The existing list of currencies includes Bitcoin [BTC], Ethereum [ETH], and XRP, along with the country’s national currency, the Baht [TBH]. The SEC had booted out Litecoin [LTC], Bitcoin Cash [BCH] and Ethereum Classic [ETC] from its roster.

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