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.”

 

Featured Image Credit: Photo by "Michael Rehfeldt" via Flickr; licensed under "CC BY 2.0"

India’s Finance Minister Says Countries Are 'Rushing' Into Cryptocurrency

  • India's Finance Minister and Reserve Bank Governor cautioned against countries rushing into digital currencies. 
  • IMF Director Kristalina Georgieva said the organization is taking a "balance approach" to regulation.

Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das and Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman cautioned that countries are rushing into cryptoassets, in the wake of Facebook’s handling of libra. 

Das spoke on cryptoassets earlier in the week at the annual meeting for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Sitharaman told Indian reporters of the meeting, 

On our side, the Reserve Bank Governor spoke about it during our turn to intervene. I got the sense that many countries were cautioning on rushing into this.

Das continued, explaining how some officials took issue with libra being labeled a ‘stablecoin,’

Some of them [countries] of course even suggested that they shouldn't be using, all of us shouldn't be using the name stable currency because that's the expression they used. Many cautioned to the extent saying even the name should not be stable currency, it should relate to virtual currency or something of the kind.

Sitharaman said the general consensus was that countries need to show “extreme” caution in the handling of digital currencies. However, she also admitted there were discussions about the benefits of digital currencies, saying that "presentations were also highlighting the strenghts of such virtual currency."

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the organization is taking a “very balanced approach” to crypto-assets while being “mindful” of the risks they pose for consumers. 

Featured Image Credit: Photo via Pixabay.com