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"

The Swiss Warm to Crypto Investments

The Swiss are shifting more focus to cryptocurrency investments. This is according to a survey taken on behalf of Migros Bank, which revealed that a growing proportion of Swiss residents are invested or actively looking to invest in cryptocurrencies.

The survey which was conducted by market research institute Intervista showed that 7% of savers between the age of 18-55 already hold cryptocurrencies such as ether and bitcoin. Even more encouraging was the finding that 7% of those aged between 30 and 55 plan to extend their crypto portfolios in the future.

Unsurprisingly, the survey found younger participants to be the most bullish on the long term prospect of crypto. According to 13%, aged between 18 and 29, cryptocurrencies will become more "important" in the future.

Less extraordinary were the results of the older generation. Per the survey, respondents aged over 55 were much less likely to own cryptocurrencies, and only 0.5% thought that it was a worthwhile long term investment. 

Switzerland Ups the Ante on Crypto Regs

This uptick in demand for cryptocurrency comes just after Switzerland imposes more stringent crypto regulations. 

Jumping off recommendations issued within both the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) guidance and the EU's 5th anti-money laundering directive (5AMLD), the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, or FINMA, recently opted to tighten their travel rule.

The rule, which requires crypto firms to disclose customer information for transfers above $1,000, was initially set by FINMA at a threshold of $5,000 (5,000 CHF) but has since lessened to just $1,000 per the FATF and 5AMLD directives. 

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