Business

Steve Kaaru

Thailand approves first ICO portal, targets STOs next

Thailand has stepped up its efforts to become a blockchain and cryptocurrency hub. The country’s Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) has approved the first initial coin offering (ICO) portal. And the commission isn’t stopping there, promising to look into Security Token Offerings (STOs) next.

The portal will bring certainty to an industry that hasn’t had any. It will screen ICOs, ensuring that they abide by the law. It will also conduct due diligence on the ICOs, as well as prove smart contract codes. The portal will also come in handy in verifying the know-your-customer process.

However, it’s not all done and dusted just yet, Archari Suppiroj told the Bangkok Post. Suppiroj is the director of the fintech department at the country’s SEC. The portal still has to get the approval of the relevant government agencies, such as the Commerce Ministry.

Suppiroj also revealed that the regulator had picked a foreign company to partner with on the initiative. She refrained from revealing the identity of the said company. The commission had picked the company from a pool of 7-8 applicants.

The Thailand ICO market has matured over the years, necessitating the platform, Suppiroj said. A few years ago, ICOs were all about sensationalism with no tangible ideas. However, the industry now accounts for physical assets such as real estate. 

“The first ICO deal will be available for public offering in the near future under the digital asset royal decree,” she believes.

This is only the first step, with the commission targeting STOs next. Currently, STO issuers must apply for a license as securities operations are supervised under the Securities and Exchange Act. 

“In the future, the SEC will issue a criteria that allows companies to apply tokenization to securities and other assets,” Suppiroj added. 

The regulator will issue guidelines to support tokenization of different assets. To further support the STOs industry, the SEC will also change the roles of some of the stakeholders such as financial advisers and underwriters.

Last month, the country’s parliament approved the issuance of scripless and tokenized securities. This will allow the trading of stocks and bonds on the blockchain. 

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