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"

Reserve Bank of India to Appeal Supreme Court’s Lift of Crypto Banking Ban

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s central bank, is reportedly set to appear the Supreme Court’s decision that lifted the banking ban it imposed on cryptocurrency businesses.

According to a report published by the Economic Times citing “people with knowledge of the matter,” the RBI revealed it’s concerned the ruling could see cryptocurrency trading in India grow and put the country’s banking system at risk.

As CryptoGlobe reported, the Reserve Bank of India barred banks from servicing cryptocurrency-related businesses in April 2018, prompting various petitions to overturn the move. These petitions led to a case pitting the RBI against the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) that was heard by a three-judge bench, and ended up in a ruling against the central bank’s ban, calling it unconstitutional.

On social media, Indian cryptocurrency users reacted the RBI’s plans to appear the Supreme Court’s decision with skepticism.

The RBI’s concerns that the ban being lifted could see cryptocurrency trading grow may come too late, as shortly after the Supreme Court’s ruling exchanges throughout India started opening fiat deposits for their users.

Abhishek Rastogi, partner at Khaitan & Co., who submitted a case in the Deli High Court that was later on transferred to the Supreme Court, told the news outlet that:

The Supreme Court may look at the RBI’s review petition but as of now the cryptocurrency platforms can operate in India. Many companies have even gone bankrupt after the RBI’s diktat and they may also look to initiate action in this regard.

For example Zebpay, a cryptocurrency exchange that shut down after the ban and recently reopened, has already announced on social media users who go through know-your-customer (KYC) checks can deposit Indian rupees. The exchange adds that due the interest it’s been receiving, customers may even face delays.

Featured image via Pixabay.