First ICO portal en route
The first initial coin offering (ICO) portal is likely to be certified this month, with the first authorised ICO offering possibly in December, says the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
"At least one ICO portal will be certified in November, then we can approve each ICO offering, which might start in December," said SEC secretary-general Rapee Sucharitakul.
The SEC has also forwarded a list of five digital asset business operators to the Finance Ministry for final approval, said Mr Rapee.
As the SEC is still assessing 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 units, as specified by the SEC.
The six businesses seeking licences to operate as digital asset exchanges are Bitcoin Co (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).
ICO portals will help screen ICOs, conduct due diligence, prove the smart contract source code and verify the know-your-customer process, said Mr Rapee.
Despite the screening process by ICO portals, success is not guaranteed, he said.
"We have always warned investors against being persuaded to invest in ICO offerings because they could be scams or they might not have sufficient liquidity to trade," said Mr Rapee.
The SEC will not make any amendments to the royal decree on digital assets, but it welcomes responses from ICO issuers set to launch ICO offerings in the future, he said.
Regarding uncertainty over extending tax deductions for long-term equity fund investments, Mr Rapee said he disagrees with the option of extending the tax privilege, noting that investors should move on from merely reaping tax deduction benefits to focus on long-term investment incentives.
"Tax deductions should be an incentive for people to start experimenting on generating higher returns," he said.