Thailand will impose rules on cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings from April to bolster investor protection, the military-run nation’s Securities and Exchange Commission said.
The regulations are set to be enforced in about three weeks, and Thailand is able to move comparatively quickly on tightening oversight in part because a military administration is in power, the commission’s Secretary General Rapee Sucharitakul said in an interview in Bangkok on Tuesday.
“This is a very specialized market and it’s not for ordinary people,” he said.
Offerings of digital coins as well as trading platforms will fall under the regulatory framework, with more details to be unveiled once the legislation receives royal endorsement. The crypto-economy currently operates in a legal gray area in Thailand, whereas Asian neighbors such as China and Indonesia have adopted a tougher stance.
The framework will impose requirements for disclosures and warnings but the regulator doesn’t want to drive coin offerings underground or abroad, Rapee said. The laws are also expected to frame applicable tax rules.
In 2017, 46 percent of token startups either failed after their ICOs or weren’t able to complete funding, according to Bitcoin.com, which drew on statistics gathered by website TokenData. So far this year, 50 of 340 completed ICOs have failed, according to TokenData.
Ookbee Co., Jaymart Pcl and Omise Co. are among the Thai companies using digital coins to help fund expansion, leaving the regulator playing catch up.
Separately, Rapee said the commission’s other upcoming initiatives include:
Improving standards of financial advice by creating a list of registered wealth advisers that meet required criteria A program to allow asset managers in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan to sell their funds in Thailand
Ensuring Thai investors make sound investment decisions is crucial as the country’s population ages, Rapee said.