Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the country’s capital markets authority, has published its viewpoint on ICOs (initial coin offerings) and it reads encouragingly.
In a public announcement, SEC Thailand revealed it has been keeping an eye on ‘the development and growing popularity’ of ICOs, a radical new form of public fundraising fueled by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
The financial regulator stated:
The SEC Thailand encourages access to funding for business, including high potential tech startups, and realizes the potential of ICO in answering startups’ funding needs.
The sale of certain digital tokens, the authority added, could see them fall under the purview of the Securities and Exchange Act – akin to securities. Other financial regulators like Hong Kong’s SFC (Securities and Futures Commission) have also pointed to ICOs having certain terms and features that could see them addressed as securities rather than virtual commodities.
Thailand’s securities regulator also expressed concern in “some cases” wherein ICOs may be used as a scam to dupe investors with fraudulent activity. However, unlike its regulatory counterparts around the world, SEC Thailand is taking a measured approach toward ICOs. Rather than issuing a sweeping warning to the public, the regulator is hoping to strike a balance between avoiding scams and encouraging innovation.
The agency stated:
[T]o strike a balance between supporting digital innovation and protecting investors from potential ICO scams, the SEC Thailand is considering appropriate approaches on ICO and welcomes comments and suggestions from the private sector.
Thailand SEC joins a growing list of regulators globally who have publicly addressed the topic of ICOs, in recent weeks and months. A handful of those regulators include Malaysia’s Securities Commission; the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the country’s central bank; the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong; the Bank of Russia, the Russian Federation’s central bank; the U.S.Securities and Exchange Commission and; the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority.
It has been two weeks since Chinese financial regulators enforced a blanket ban on all ICOs regionally, a move that has somewhat dented the bullish run of a booming cryptocurrency market this year.
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