SEC expects 5 ICOs in the pipeline once law enacted

SEC expects 5 ICOs in the pipeline once law enacted

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) expects five initial coin offering (ICO) projects to register for fund-raising procedures after the organic law of the digital asset decree takes effect this month.

Out of 50 ICO projects expecting to raise funds from the Thai capital market, five are ready as initial pilot projects, Thawatchai Kiatkwankul, director of corporate finance in the equity department at the SEC, said without identifying the characteristics of the five ICOs.

As ICO projects have growth potential, the SEC is preparing to expand and combine its unit for registration of ICOs with initial public offerings (IPOs), hiring more recruits to serve market demand, Mr Thawatchai said.

The market regulator needs to screen ICO projects that could be potential scams to hedge against high investment risk, whereby the SEC will work alongside ICO portals, he said.

"Projects which can be [easily vetted] and have commercial attributes attached to them will be considered for fund-raising," Mr Thawatchai said.

Rules and regulations related to digital asset investment and transactions could be eased, given that market participants are more educated on digital asset investment and domestic competition is on a par with other digital asset markets, he said.

The SEC recently announced supervisory details for market participants involved in the digital asset trade, to come into effect later this month.

The SEC will allows seven cryptocurrencies used for ICOs to be traded as trading pairs. They are bitcoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash, ethereum classic, litecoin, ripple and stellar.

A trading pair refers to a trade between one type of cryptocurrency and another.

After several rounds of public hearings, a royal decree regulating digital assets took effect on May 14. The 100-section document defines cryptocurrencies as digital assets and digital tokens.

All market participants, including ICO issuers, digital exchanges, brokers and dealers involved with digital asset transactions, are required to register with the SEC within 90 days of the effective date.

The participants must also receive the Finance Ministry's approval to engage in the digital asset business.

Each ICO can be offered to institutional and ultra-high-net-worth investors at an unlimited investment amount, but investment is capped at 300,000 baht per retail investor and ICO project, or no more than 70% of the total value of the offered tokens.

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