The nations of Asia are deeply divided when it comes to crypto-currencies. Some, usually the more authoritarian, are vehemently against them such as China and India.
Others, such as Singapore and South Korea, are embracing the embryonic technology with open arms. Thailand, being in the grips of a military government, should fall into the first category, but it has been increasingly open to initial coin offerings and is readying the first “ICO portal” for launch this month.
According to the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as reported by the Bangkok Post this week, the first ICO portal is likely to be certified this month with the actual offering possibly launching in December. SEC Secretary-General Rapee Sucharitakul said that “at least one ICO portal will be certified in November, then we can approve each ICO offering, which might start in December.”
An additional five crypto-currency business operators have also been submitted to the SEC for approval. The Commission is still assessing approval requests, during which time the operators are still allowed to conduct their businesses for 90 days.
The companies seeking approval and licenses to operate as digital asset exchanges are Bitcoin Co (bx.in.th), Bitkub Online Co Ltd (bitkub.com), Cash2Coins Co Ltd (cash2coins.com), Satang Corporation Co Ltd (tdax.com), Coin Asset Co Ltd (coinasset.co.th) and Southeast Asia Digital Exchange Co Ltd (seadex.io). They are still permitted to operate while the regulator deliberates on approvals.
The ICO portals will enable the screening of initial coin offerings, conducting of due diligence, verifying KYC (know your customer) processes and checking smart contract source code. They cannot, however, place any guarantees on the success of individual projects or advise on investment risks.
“We have always warned investors against being persuaded to invest in ICO offerings because they could be scams or they might not have sufficient liquidity to trade,” the SEC boss added. He went on to state that the SEC will not be making any amendments to the current regulations on digital assets but welcomed responses from ICO issuers set to launch future coin offerings.
The tax status is still a grey area with the onus being placed on the individuals to declare their own profits from crypto-currency trading. Currently, no taxes are collected by exchanges operating within the Kingdom.
In a related development, Thailand’s revenue department plans to use the blockchain to chase tax evaders and introduce a layer of transparency to the process though no further details were available at the time of press.