Thailand’s Financial Regulator Announces a Regulatory Framework for ICOs

Siamak Masnavi

According to the Bangkok Post, Thailand's financial regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has released a regulatory framework for issuing and selling tokens through initial coin offerings (ICOs) that will be effective from 16 July 2018.

When the Thai SEC held a focus group on cryptocurrency regulations on 21 May 2018, the hearing focused on fundraising through ICOs. The focus group decided that ICOs should only be allowed to raise funds through the national currency, the Thai Baht (THB), Bitcoin, Ether, and perhaps a few cryptocurrencies deemed to have "enough liquidity" and not associated with money laundering. ICO projects would also need to ensure that they are complying with KYC and AML rules. The ICO Portal of Thailand would not list any international ICOs. And finally, the Thai SEC would not get involved with ICOs for stablecoins, and regulations for these would instead be dealt with by the central bank, the Bank of Thailand (since there was no price volatility to worry about with stablecoins).

Here is a quick summary of the new guidelines:

  • An ICO's portal must be pre-approved by the Thai SEC.
  • ICO issuers must be Thai companies with a registered capital of at least 5 million bahts (around $150,000). The companies must have clear business plans and clear rights for digital token holders.
  • While there is no limit on how many tokens can be sold to an institutional investor, a venture capital firm, a private equity firm, or an ultra-high-net-worth (UHNWI) individuals, it is not allowed to sell more than 300,000 baht (around $9,000) worth of tokens for a single ICO to a single ordinary retail investor.
  • ICO issuers may only accept payments in Thai Baht or one of these seven cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ether, XRP, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic, Stellar Lumens and Litecoin. 
  • An ICO's management structure and staff must be appropriate for business operations. 
  • An ICO is required to disclose its source code, investment prospectus, and financial statements.

Rapee Sucharitakul, the Secretary-General of the Thai SEC, made the following comment:

“The SEC is pleased to immediately discuss details with those who would like to be approved as ICO portals in order for them to be prepared for the regulatory framework. After the SEC approves an ICO portal, the token will be assessed for approval.”


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Former CFTC Chair Giancarlo Calls for Digital Dollar

  • Former CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo says the Federal Reserve must launch a digital currency.
  • Giancarlo started the Digital Dollar Project to draw greater awareness to the issue. 

Former Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo says its time for the Federal Reserve to issue a fully digital currency. 

Giancarlo, who worked for the CFTC from 2014 to 2019, told Yahoo Finance’s On the Move program that the Federal Reserve must issue a digital currency in order to compete with China and their forthcoming digital yuan. 

The former CFTC chairman highlighted the prevalence of online shopping as a particular sector that would benefit from the U.S. offering a digital payment option outside of traditional debit and credit cards. 

He said, 

When we talk about a digital dollar we’re talking about in the virtual world, to have that same immediacy of payment that we have in the analog human world.

Giancarlo founded the Digital Dollar Project to draw greater interest to the U.S. central bank issuing a digital currency. The project has teamed up with Accenture to encourage dialogue between the private and public sector.

He told Yahoo, 

A digital dollar is a complete change in architecture of the dollar. It’s going to take a lot of thought. There are going to be a lot of views on this.

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