Digital asset trading licences issued soon, says Bitkub
The Finance Ministry is expected to issue digital asset operating licences for applicants later this year or early next year, and Thai securities companies have expressed interest in partnering with digital asset exchanges, says a blockchain expert.
Since submitting their applications on Aug 14, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken two months to assess applications and will forward its evaluation to the Finance Ministry, with the procedure to be wrapped up in six months, Jirayut Srupsrisopa, co-founder and chief executive at Bitkub, said on the sidelines of a seminar titled "Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investment" hosted by the Stock Exchange of Thailand and Post Books.
"It is expected Bitkub will receive an operating licence either this year or early next year," Mr Jirayut said.
Cryptocurrency transactions have dwindled compared with last year as bitcoin's value fell to US$6,000 from last year's high of around $19,000, he said.
But the value of cryptocurrencies could rise if financial regulators allowed institutional investors to invest in them, Mr Jirayut said.
The six businesses seeking licences to operate as digital asset exchanges are Bitcoin Co Ltd (bx.in.th); Bitkub Online Co Ltd (bitkub.com); Cash2Coins Co Ltd (cash2coins.com); Satang Corporation Co Ltd (tdax.com); Coin Asset Co Ltd (coinasset.co.th); and Southeast Asia Digital Exchange Co Ltd (seadex.io).
The two businesses seeking licences to operate as digital asset dealers are Coins TH Co (coins.co.th) and Digital Coin Co Ltd (thaiwm.com).
As the SEC is still assessing the applications, these businesses are allowed to operate because they submitted their requests within 90 days after the royal decree on digital asset businesses took effect on May 14.
The new legislation was enacted to regulate digital asset offerings and businesses undertaking digital asset-related activities. Pursuant to the royal decree, digital assets cover cryptocurrencies, digital tokens and any other electronic data unit, as specified by the SEC.
The Finance Ministry regulates registration of companies in Thailand seeking involvement in digital asset trading.
Some Thai securities firms have expressed interest in partnering with digital asset exchanges to offer services related to digital asset transactions, Mr Jirayut said.
A positive sign was the New York Stock Exchange investing in Coinbase, while the Nasdaq has backed DX Exchange, a new centralised cryptocurrency exchange, he said.