The SEC in Thailand announced that the Ministry of Finance has granted licenses to four crypto businesses out of seven applications under review to operate in the country under the Emergency Degree on Digital Asset Businesses B.E. 2561 (2018).

Prior to this development, the seven crypto-related businesses were granted provisional rights to operate under the Emergency Decree on Digital Asset Businesses B.E. 2561 (2018), while their license applications were being reviewed.

Per the announcement, three of the crypto ventures that were granted the license were exchanges while the fourth is a digital asset broker. The four are Bitcoin Exchange Co Ltd, Bitkub Online Co Ltd, Satang Corporation and Coins TH Co Ltd.

Two exchange license requests from Cash2coin Co Ltd and Southeast Asia Digital Exchange Co Ltd were rejected on the grounds of failing to meet the approval criteria with respect to important work systems. These included “systems for custody of client assets and Know Your Customer (KYC) were inconsistent with the SEC’s acceptable standards, while the sufficiency of their IT security and cybersecurity systems could not be verified”.

As a result of the rejection, the financial regulator is granting Cash2coin and SEADEX a deadline of 14 January 2019 to cease all business operations which was previously accorded under temporal arrangements according to the transitional provisions of the Emergency Decree. The SEC, however, mentioned that the rejected applicants can still apply in the future provided they meet the criteria for the application.

One more application from Coin Asset Co Ltd is still under review by the board due to organizational changes in its executive board. However, the SEC noted that the business may proceed with its normal business operation.

Asia as a whole has a rather unequivocal voice when it comes to the stance on crypto. While some are making efforts to accommodate the emerging technology and seeking for a compromise, others are clamping down hard on the industry.

Thailand’s crypto industry frequented the news in 2018; highlights included stern regulations which came down hard on operators and promoters in the country. Recently, it has been found to incline towards the advancement of the industry with a more considerate regulatory framework.

Last year, Thai finance minister Apisak Tantivorawong said the new law was “necessary to comprehensively regulate cryptocurrencies and digital tokens to prevent money laundering, tax avoidance and crime”.

Moreover, over 50 ICO projects and 20 cryptocurrency exchanges had filed for a license to operate their businesses in the region in August 2018, which in turn was indicative of the high interest in digital assets. The Thai SEC secretary general said that “digital assets and cryptocurrency trading in the Thai market are quite active”.

The country has also indicated an interest in applying blockchain technology to its economy. The Director General of Thailand’s Revenue Department Ekniti Nitithanprapas has said that blockchain and machine learning will be utilized in tax avoidance probes.

 

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