The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) plans to apply for a digital asset operating licence from the Finance Ministry, aiming to open a new exchange and become an authorised digital asset exchange this year.
The bourse wants to catch the growing investment trend of digital assets, said Pattera Dilokrungthirapop, chairwoman of the Association of Securities Companies and vice-chairwoman of the SET's board of governors.
Securities companies that are members of the SET plan to apply to become brokers and dealers for digital asset trade on the new exchange, Mrs Pattera said.
The bourse aims to cooperate with its members to set up the new digital asset exchange, she said.
If the plan becomes reality, the SET will be one of a few global stock exchanges to set up a digital asset exchange separately from a stock exchange.
The SET is expected to have an upper hand compared with licenced digital asset exchanges in terms of having "large capital and trust", Mrs Pattera said.
The bourse will need to set up a good operating system and work out details such as back-office systems and an e-wallet for token storage, she said.
The royal decree on digital assets has been effective since last May.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is tasked with regulating initial coin offerings and other digital asset businesses, including digital exchanges, brokers and dealers involved with digital asset transactions.
The Finance Ministry has the authority to issue operating licences for businesses seeking to operate digital asset businesses.
The SET and its members will organise the first roadshow and seminar for digital business this Saturday. The investment expo will showcase the securities business outlook, the SET's policy on digital asset exchanges and the trends of artificial intelligence and robo-trading, Mrs Pattera said.
At present, there are many securities firms reportedly interested in applying to become brokers and dealers of the digital asset class.
"We [securities firms] are not in a hurry to enter the digital asset trade, as some companies are still managing their core businesses, while cryptocurrencies are just one of the [digital] asset classes where brokers can adapt their trading platforms to serve digital trading," Mrs Pattera said. "Securities firms are currently waiting for the SET to apply for a licence. For us, digital assets are expected to grow in the future as investors gain more understanding of this asset class."
Jirayut Srupsrisopa, chief executive of Bitkub Group, said the SET has an edge over licensed digital asset exchanges in terms of capital and trust, but the latter have expertise and at least five years' experience since the domestic cryptocurrency market emerged.
Licensed digital asset exchanges have a good understanding of this investor group and the digital asset trade, Mr Jirayut said.
Bitkub Group is interested in partnering with the bourse on the upcoming digital asset exchange, he said, adding that the company will talk with the SET again after a single discussion took place last year.