Bangkok, THAILAND – Thailand will impose rules on cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) from April to bolster investor protection, according to the nation’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Although the rules were not disclosed, government officials were quick to stress that the Thai SEC has no intention to drive ICOs underground or overseas, but rather, the rules will require disclosures and warnings to clarify risks.
The regulations are set to be enforced in about three weeks, and Thailand is able to move comparatively quickly on tightening oversight in part because an efficient administration is in power, the SEC’s Secretary General Rapee Sucharitakul said in an interview in Bangkok on Tuesday,
“This is a very specialized market and it’s not for ordinary people.”
Offerings of digital coins as well as trading platforms will fall under the regulatory framework, with more details to be unveiled once the legislation receives royal endorsement. The crypto-economy currently operates in a legal gray area in Thailand, whereas Asian neighbors such as China and Indonesia have adopted a tougher stance and jurisdictions such as Singapore have adopted a far more permissive and progressive approach.
In an exclusive interview with the Bangkok Post, Sucharitakul said,
“We have told companies planning to issue ICOs they should not try to evade regulations [by issuing digital tokens considered as securities tokens] as they will be in violation of the Securities and Exchange.”
“No matter what [business] space a company is involved in, if its [ICO offering] is associated with [raising funds by issuing] securities and the company does not comply, then it is illegal.”
According to Rapee, the framework will impose requirements for disclosures and warnings but the regulator doesn’t want to drive coin offerings underground or abroad. The laws are also expected to frame applicable tax rules. According to a one startup founder who declined to be named,
“The laws are a welcome development as they will bring certainty to the ICO market in Thailand.”
Ookbee Co., Jaymart Pcl and Omise Co. are among the Thai companies using ICOs to help fund expansion. With growing interest in ICOs, the Thai SEC is stepping in to provide greater clarity to both companies and the investing public. According to Rapee, ensuring Thai investors make sound investment decisions is crucial as the country’s population ages.