The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Thailand has approved the first portal for ICOs in the country, according to reports from local media outlets. The primary purposes of the initial coin offerings portal in the country are to help the agency vet tokens, carry out research on crypto projects, ensure that they follow their whitepaper roadmap, and verify their KYC procedures.
Thailand launches first ICO portal
In a report by the Bangkok Post on Wednesday, March 13, the local SEC’s board of directors approved the first ICO portal in Thailand. According to the report, the initial coin offering portal will help regulators and investors screen projects, ensure that they do not deal with or use funds of bad elements, ensure that smart contract source code is provided, and verify the different know-your-customer processes that are put into place by each ICO.
At the moment, the SEC website is yet to update the ICO portal or confirm if the scheme has been approved. While speaking to the Bangkok Post, the SEC’s director of the fintech department, Archari Suppiroj, stated that “Thailand’s first authorized ICO portal is being finalized for official approval with the relevant government agencies such as the Commerce Ministry.”
The Securities and Exchange Commission is the number one regulator of the financial sector in Thailand. The commission explained that interested ICO issuers would have to secure approval by the ICO portal before they can seek the SEC’s approval. On their website, the SEC revealed that eligible ICO investors are institutions and high net worth individuals worth roughly 25 million baht or above. In addition to that, venture capital firms and private equity funds are also licensed to invest in cryptocurrency assets. For retail investors, however, the maximum they can spend on each ICO project is 300,000 baht
Suppiroj told the Bangkok Post that so far, eight companies have held talks with the commission to allow them to operate ICO portals. While not disclosing the names of any of them, she revealed that an approved operator is a foreign company.
At the time of writing this report, Bitherb Co. Ltd., which is a joint company created by Japanese crypto exchange Bitpoint Japan and Asia Herb Association Bangkok Co. Ltd., is the only foreign company approved on Thailand SEC’s official website. Bitherb Co. Ltd currently carries out cryptocurrency business in the country.
Bitpoint itself is seeking to venture into the Thailand market. The company currently has four licenses from Thailand’s SEC and has admitted that it wants to operate an ICO portal in the country. A representative of the company stated that “Bitherb did acquire [four] licenses but will begin to operate after [the] SEC inspects the company within 180 days after license acquisition (which would be by July 30th, 2019).”
At the moment, Thailand has three cryptocurrency exchange operators in the country: Bitcoin Co. Ltd., Bitkub Online Co. Ltd., and Satang Corp. The regulators have also granted Coins Th. Co. Ltd the license to offer digital asset broker and dealer services.
The Thai SEC has been working hard to ensure that it creates an innovative and safe atmosphere for cryptocurrency projects in the country. Earlier this year, the SEC refused three companies licenses to offer digital asset services, claiming that their custody systems were weak and KYC procedures were inconsistent.
Even though it is currently not one of the leading cryptocurrency markets in the world, the creation of an ICO portal in Thailand is a brilliant idea and regulators in other countries could adopt such a step as a means of screening ICO projects. The regulation of the crypto sector needs to be rigorous and regulatory bodies are finding it hard to determine the best way to protect investors while boosting innovation in this new market.
The creation of ICO portals and other means to screen crypto projects are a promising new way for regulators to properly regulate the crypto sector, opening the doors to innovation, investment, and growth for everyone operating in this cutting-edge industry.