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Thailand Law to Regulate [Legalize] Cryptocurrency, ICO Markets Coming in April

Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:05 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:05 PM

The governor of Thailand’s central bank has confirmed an upcoming law to ‘comprehensively regulate’ cryptocurrency as a former Thai finance minister throws his support behind the idea.

Bank of Thailand governor Veerathai Santiprabhob has revealed  details of a meeting between the country’s deputy prime minister, finance minister and other related agencies last week wherein the regulators reportedly  agreed to ‘enact a new law to comprehensively regulate’ cryptocurrencies.

The central bank chief added that the new law – which will look to grant Thailand’s ICO-friendly Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) total regulatory powers – is expected to be finalized in a month’s time.

To this end, SEC secretary-general Rapee Sucharitakul has revealed that a ‘royal decree’ is commonly seen as the path to empower the SEC to regulate ‘all aspects’ of the crypto sector including cryptocurrency exchanges, ICO fundraising.

As reported in September, Thailand’s SEC revealed an encouragingly embracive outlook toward initial coin offerings, stressing it “realizes the potential of ICO” in bringing new forms of funding for businesses and startups. The SEC has since seen the drafts of its ICO regulatory framework released for public consultation, twice extended, complete its final round on January 22, the report revealed.

The idea has gained support from a former Thai finance minister and current FinTech proponent Korn Chatikavanij. Serving as Thailand’s finance minister from 2008 to 2011, Korn has previously been recognized  as the ‘Global Finance Minister of the Year’  in 2010 after charting a course for the economy through the global financial crisis at the time. The Democrat Party politician now sees a role as chairman of the Thai FinTech Association, a Bangkok-based startup accelerator that also serves as a testing lab for FinTech startups looking to carve an entry into the domestic market.

In an interview last week, the chairman spoke of discussions between the body and Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Bank of Thailand (the central bank) and the Finance Ministry with a focus on regulation for the cryptocurrency sector brought on by the SEC.

Speaking to the Bangkok Post , Korn reveals a concentrated effort to have the SEC, not the financial ministry or the central bank, be the sole authority responsible for introducing regulation for the sector.

“I agree with the Finance Ministry’s [view] of letting the SEC be the only organisation governing digital assets, because it already oversees securities and has a profound understanding of digital assets,” Korn said.

The former finance minister added:

“Digital assets are new for everyone, and no one knows everything [about them], so all parties should be open-minded, learn about them and have proper rules and regulations.”

So far, market participants have gotten on-board with the SEC’s floated mandatory “investment participation” requirement wherein ICO operators must have the offering originate in Thailand with capital of up to 5 million baht (approx. $160,000) registered as the minimum.

Bitcoin baht image from Shutterstock.