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Thailand SEC Approves First-Ever Foreign ICO Screening Portal

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Thailand Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved a portal that would screen Initial Coin Offering projects (ICOs).

The securities regulator told the Bangkok Post they interviewed “roughly” 7-8 portals for the job of selecting ICOs, conducting due diligence, reviewing smart contract codes, and verifying the know-your-customer process. Eventually, the SEC’s board of directors approved one ICO portal out of all. The commission refused to share any further details about the selected company, except that it was a non-Thailand venture.

Archari Suppiroj, the SEC’s director of Fintech, confirmed that the commission had forwarded its selection to the relevant government agencies, including the Ministry of Commerce, for further consideration. She added that the ICO portal – if approved by the government – would list its first ICO deal for a public offering “under the digital asset royal decree.”

In Retrospective

The approval comes as the SEC’s efforts to introduce a stable regulatory framework for startups that want to raise operational capital via digitized tokens’ sales. On May 14, 2018, the commission and Thailand’s Ministry of Finance amended an old securities bill to legalize the use of crypto assets. Per the new law, the SEC would approve an “ICO Portal” which would list licensed digital currency businesses. They include startups that would gain permission to launch security token offerings (STO).

In their current format, Thailand laws do not permit companies to digitize securities and launch an STO. Ms. Sippiroj said that the SEC is yet to finalize the criteria for applications for STOs. Once the commission introduces a dedicated STO rulebook, startups would be able to apply for a securities operator license accordingly.

“This will help bridge the digital asset royal decree and securities,” adeed Ms. Sippiroj.

Digital Securities Listing

In February 2019, the Thailand National Legislative Assembly (NLA) amended the Securities and Exchange Act. The new amendment allows the SEC to decentralize securities depository centers. At the same time, it promotes scriptless securities issuance.

Earlier, only the Thailand Securities Depository (TSD), owned by the Stock Exchange of Thailand, had the authority to act as a central securities depository for stocks and bonds. Post the NLA’s input, the SEC gained the rights to license more depository centers in Thailand.

Following up, the commission stated that it now plans to issue rules on depository centers to support digitized securities. It also said that it would change the role of financial advisers and underwriters to make them more accustomed to STOs.

“The market regulator aims to create a level playing field for anyone who has a profound knowledge of digitization and tokenization, together with the ability to become intermediaries for STOs,” said Ms. Sippiroj.

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