Coin Asset Co (coinasset.co.th), the operator of a local digital asset exchange, plans to re-apply for an operating licence with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as Thai cryptocurrencies listed on the exchange plunge.
The Finance Ministry denied Coin Asset an operating licence, saying the company's system does not meet the SEC's standards. The development shook investor confidence, resulting in huge sell-offs of JFin coin and DEV coin.
The value of JFin coin, Thailand's first initial coin offering (ICO) issued by a subsidiary of a SET-listed company, nosedived from its ICO launch at 6.60 baht to 0.84 satang as of press time on Tuesday.
DEV coin's value plunged to 0.39 satang as of press time on Tuesday, from 1.49 baht at its launch in June 2018.
Coin Asset chief executive Sivanus Yamdee said the company will meet the SEC on Friday to discuss continuing its digital asset exchange operations.
"We are seeking a way to keep our digital asset exchange operating as the business cycle is moving towards a peak," said Mr Sivanus.
Three of the four directors responsible for major systems resigned, and the company's main systems including keeping customer assets and Know Your Customer records do not meet the standards required by the SEC, said an SEC statement.
Coin Asset has about 10,000 customers, 70% of whom are Thais, and around 60 million baht per day in transactions.
Without the licence it is unclear what will become of Coin Asset's operations, customers and assets.
Following the rejection, Coin Asset is allowed to operate a digital asset exchange business until Jan 21.
Through Facebook, JFin coin said JFin coin holders can transfer their digital tokens to Hardware Wallet, MyEtherWallet and JFin Wallet. Holders can store their digital tokens in these e-wallets until Feb 13.
Satang Corporation Co Ltd said JFin coin holders can transfer their digital tokens to its platform until Coin Asset is operational again.
The three businesses approved as authorised digital asset exchanges are Bitcoin Co (bx.in.th), Bitkub Online Co (bitkub.com) and Satang Corporation Co (satang.pro), while Coins TH Co (coins.co.th) has been approved as a licensed broker and dealer of cryptocurrencies.
If Coin Asset re-applies for a licence, the SEC told Mr Sivanus the minimum processing time is four months.
"We are unable to endure such a long processing time. The business cycle is on the rise and there are costs for daily business conduct. It is not easy to maintain customer loyalty," Mr Sivanus said.
According to Coin Asset's newly appointed chief strategic officer Arnon Saksri, the company believes it was not granted a licence at it did not have a chief financial officer (CFO).
"They were not concerned about the quality of our back-end systems," said Mr Arnon. "But they thought our systems could not operate without one person who left [the CFO], which wasn't the case."
Disagreements and incompetencies are the reasons behind changes in the company's board of directors, he said.
The company's board has filled previously vacant positions, said Mr Arnon.
"Ultimately, we want to be regulated," he said.
"It will improve investor confidence and the legitimacy of our cryptocurrency businesses, but the SEC has to find the right way to do it."
"Shutting down is not an option for us."