ICO licences drawing interest
Three portals have applied, regulator says
About 50 initial coin offering (ICO) projects have shown interest in applying for licences to operate after the Finance Ministry's announcement on approving digital asset licensing took effect late last month, says the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The 50 ICO projects are keen to raise funds from the public, but it remains uncertain whether all of them will be given operating licences to raise funds, said SEC secretary-general Rapee Sucharitakul.
For a total of five ICO portals interested in applying for authorised licences, three of them have already submitted their applications to the SEC, Mr Rapee said.
The most difficult task for ICOs is creating the white paper that covers details of an ICO investment project, including product description, digital token distribution and how the raised funds will be used, for both Thai and foreign investors, he said.
There are also around 20 companies that have applied for licences to operate as digital asset exchanges, Mr Rapee said.
"Licence approvals are being processed," he said. "Many companies interested in opening digital asset exchanges have said digital assets and cryptocurrency trading in the Thai market are quite active."
Once firms or listed companies make a filing for licence approval, the market regulator will forward documents to the Finance Ministry within 90 days, starting from the day that the documents are received. Then the Finance Ministry will decide on licence approval within 60 days.
Qualifications for those seeking a licence to operate a digital asset business include being a company or listed firm with business operations based in Thailand; having paid-up registered capital as stipulated; and having a well-prepared work system and sound financial status.
The directors, executives and company shareholders must also have SEC approval.
A royal decree on digital asset businesses went into effect on May 14. The new legislation was enacted to regulate digital asset offerings and businesses undertaking digital-asset-related activities.
JIBEX chief executive Thuntee Sukchotrat said ICOs and cryptocurrencies are currently viewed as assets that have captivated investment interest worldwide.
"I believe that investors will invest in digital assets instead of stocks in the future. The performance of ICOs will rise in line with ICO project performance," Mr Thuntee said. "The investment ratio of ICOs to stocks will be on par within two years."
Mr Thuntee said Thailand has updated rules and regulations on the digital asset trade and there is a regulator supervising both trading and ICOs, which could draw a considerable number of investors.
"Only the details for taxes [imposed on digital asset trade and capital gains] remain unready," he said.