Thailand SEC Approves Country’s First ICO Portal

Thailand has been one of the most proactive cryptocurrency jurisdictions in Asia with a slew of regulatory guidelines aimed at promoting the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. The Thailand SEC has now approved its first Initial Coin Offering (ICO) portal which will allow them to screen and vet legitimate token sales.

Specifically, the ICO portal will perform due diligence, conduct KYC norms and confirm smart contract source codes. An unnamed foreign company is said to be operator of this portal, among the 7–8 companies that had approached the Thailand SEC to operate ICO portals. While the earlier plan was to launch an approved token sale in December 2018, the first ICO under the ‘Digital Asset Royal Decree’ will now be made available later.

An Eye on Security Token Offerings (STOs)

Apart from offering a clear regulatory framework on ICOs, the Thailand SEC also recognises the upcoming trend of STOs. Currently, token issuers interested in launching STOs need to apply for a license since it falls under the purview of the Securities and Exchange Act. However, the news report mentions that the SEC will issue criteria that allow businesses to apply tokenisation to securities and other assets as well. This will help bridge the existing gap between the digital asset royal decree and the securities law.

Going forth, the SEC is also expected to issue new rules on depositories and offer further clarity on regulations to support tokenisation. This will also change the roles of stakeholders such as financial advisers and underwriters. Clearly, the Thai SEC wants to create a level playing field for token issuers as well as the incumbents who will operate the various facets of such token offerings.

Regulations Should Catch Up with Technology, and Not Vice-Versa

For any technology in its infancy, it is important that regulators treat it with a light hand. A lot of the existing regulations have been put into place before blockchain technology came into full force. Hence, it is impossible for new technology to be compatible with older regulations. Regulators need to have a flexible approach to policy-making to ensure that new and innovative technologies are not curtailed by regulatory oversight.

And this is exactly where Thai regulators seem to be making all the right moves. They have shown a keen understanding of the market and recognition of the fact that token sales are moving towards STOs backed by real estate and other tangible assets. The Thailand SEC wants to ensure that the country is able to make the most of the new opportunity that the next wave of token sales brings to the table. A progressive regulatory approach towards cryptocurrencies will open the doors for institutional and foreign investment and offer Thailand a chance to attain center stage on the global blockchain map!

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