Divisions are forming across Asia with regards to cryptocurrencies. Some nations such as China are constantly stomping on anything to do with crypto assets but others, Thailand being the latest, are opening their digital doors to the fledgling industry.
Thai SEC Approves Crypto Exchanges
Thailand started out with a heavy handed approach to cryptocurrencies proposing crippling taxes on trading and profiting from them. This would have no doubt spelled the end of the industry in the Kingdom before it even began. Backpedalling, Thailand’s ruling junta, which has proved over its four years of control to have limited knowledge of business and economics, scrapped the 15% tax in favor of more regulation.
A number of crypto exchanges and blockchain startups filed for licenses from the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission and have been waiting since August. The SEC permitted seven exchanges to continue operating while it deliberated on official approval. That approval has arrived for four of them this week as the SEC announced in an official statement.
According to the release the SEC has approved the granting of 4 digital asset business licenses to the Ministry of Finance. Two have been rejected and one is still pending approval. The companies approved have been listed as Bitcoin Co., Ltd (BX, bx.in.th), Bitkhun Online Co., Ltd. (BITKUB, bitkub.com), Satang Corporation Limited (Satang Pro, satang.pro), and licensed as broker and trader Coins TH Company (Coins.co.th).
The two companies rejected were Cash 2 Coin Company Limited (cash2coins.com) and South East Asia Digital Exchange Limited (SEADEX, seadex.io). Reasons for rejection included improper KYC procedures and failure to meet cyber security standards as set out by the regulatory body. The Ministry of Finance has allowed these 2 companies to continue to operate until January 14, 2019. Following that date it has urged the companies to transfer any digital assets back to its customers and inform the SEC when they have done so. It did not prevent either company from re-applying for a license when they meet the required standards.
The final company with pending status is Coin Asset Company Limited (coinasset.co.th). Due to a number of executive changes in the organization the SEC is still reviewing the details and the company can continue to do business at the current time.
Over the past year Thailand has warmed to crypto and this latest raft of official licenses is a big boost to the industry in the country and region as a whole. Military rulers and the central bank remains wary which is no surprise and have issued warnings to investors. Overall though the sentiment is positive and an official ICO portal has even been proposed by the SEC.