In Taiwan, a national regulation standard for initial coin offerings (ICOs) is presently being drafted up by its Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC).

As reported by a local news outlet, the Taipei Times, FSC Chairman Wellington Koo has said that these standards will make ICO tokens as easy to invest in, and as liquid as traditional stocks.

Security Tokens

Speaking at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan Finance Committee, Koo remarked that the first draft is expected to arrive by June next year; these comments were made in response to legislator William Tseng who had asked if the Taiwanese government had plans to regulate the digital crowdfunding phenomenon.

“The more we regulate, the more this new economic behavior wanes,” Koo said.

The aim is to simplify regulations and increase token liquidity, a move prompted by the notoriously fraudulent waters of the ICO markets. The new framework will cause ICO issued tokens to be classified and regulated as securities, similar to what the United States has done, but to little fanfare.

Though Taiwan won’t be applying a blanket classification on all cryptocurrencies, the Taipei Times writes:

“…tokens exchanged for goods, such as those used in accruing points at convenience stores or mileage points accepted by airlines, would not be covered by the standards,”

According to Koo, this is in no way a means of stifling innovation and growth in the blockchain sector, something of which the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States is currently under fire for.

Koo said: “The commission has no intention of curbing the creativity and productivity associated with cryptocurrencies if they are not used as securities,”

Investor Security

Securities and Futures Bureau Deputy Director-General Tsai Li-ling described ICOs as a public fundraising activity that differs from cryptocurrency trading which is similar to that of trading gold.

Taiwan could also soon see cryptocurrencies covered by existing anti-money laundering (AML) laws; in doing so, cryptocurrency exchanges would be required to collect and retain transaction records and be responsible for the reporting of suspicious activities to authorities.

Under the new framework, ICO issuers would need to disclose degrees of information that other publicly traded companies are required to.

ICOs are a contentious facet of the blockchain industry; nations such as China have banned them outright, whilst others such as Malta have found a means to accommodate them. One of the largest players on the international stage, South Korea, has had a ban in place since the winter of 2017, though in November a decision to uphold or lift the ICO ban will be made.

Last year when China and South Korea banned ICOs, Taiwan remained crypto-positive, as the nation’s parliament and cabinet discussed the matter, with one legislator saying:

“Just because China and South Korea are banning, doesn’t mean that Taiwan should follow suit – there is a huge opportunity for growth in the future. We should emulate Japan, where they treat cryptocurrency as a highly regulated, highly monitored industry like securities.”

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