Business 10 January 2019Ed Drake
Thailand welcomes first crypto exchanges as SEC issues new licenses
Thailand has opened its arms to the cryptocurrency industry, following an announcement that the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had granted four new licenses to operate cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.
In a move that breaks with the direction of some of their regional counterparts, most notably China, Thailand has opted to support the emerging cryptocurrency sector, the latest sign the kingdom is now committed to working with, rather than against, the industry.
Initially, Thailand’s ruling junta had proposed punitive taxes for the cryptocurrency sector, which commentators had suggested would have killed off its appeal to crypto businesses before it had even begun. But after changing direction and scrapping the tax in favor of more stringent regulation, the SEC has announced the first raft of successful license applications.
Companies have been waiting since August to learn their fate, with a number across the crypto sector applying for licenses from the commission. Overseen by the Ministry of Finance, the first licenses have been issued to four cryptocurrency exchanges, with two rejected and a further license application still in the balance.
The licensees are Coins TH Company, a broker/trader, alongside Bitcoin Co. Ltd., Satang Corporation Ltd. and Bitkub Online Co. Ltd.
The two companies which failed, on the grounds that they failed to meet adequate cybersecurity and KYC standards, were Cash 2 Coin Co. Ltd. and South East Asia Digital Exchange Limited.
A verdict on an application from Coin Asset Co. Ltd. is still pending, based on several recent management changes, with the SEC instead preferring to take more time to evaluate their decision. In the interim, the firm is allowed to continue trading until a ruling has been made.
The news marks the culmination of a sea change in attitudes towards cryptocurrency in Thailand over the last 12 months, with the country’s military rulers increasingly keen to embrace regulation of the cryptocurrency sector.
The licensing system will provide legal certainty to cryptocurrency operators, as well as ensuring faith among investors and consumers, all too often the victim of scams from unregulated exchanges.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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