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Thai SEC looks to amend royal decree on digital asset businesses in 2020

Image: Patipat Janthong/ Bangkok Post

Mon, 25 Nov 2019, 09:50 am UTC

The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is seeking to amend the royal decree on digital asset businesses in 2020, Bangkok Post reported.

On May 14, 2018, the Royal Decree on the Digital Asset Businesses B.E. 2561 (2018) came into effect in Thailand. The legislation was enacted to regulate digital asset businesses – digital exchanges, brokerage firms, dealers, and token portal service providers, also known as initial coin offering (ICO) portals.

It requires exchanges, brokers and dealers to apply for licenses from the Finance Ministry, while ICO portals are required to be approved by the SEC.

Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol, secretary-general of the SEC, said that the SEC is now looking if there are any areas in the royal decree that act as an impediment for digital asset businesses.

"The regulator must be flexible to apply the rules and regulations in line with the market environment," Suwanmongkol said. "For example, laws should not be outdated and should serve market needs, especially for new digital asset products, and be competitive with the global market. We need to explore any possible obstacles."

Not all authorized businesses have commenced operations

To date, five firms have secured digital asset exchange licenses in the country, including Bitkub, Bitcoin Co, Satang Pro, BiTherb, and Huobi. Of these, only Bitkub and Satang Pro are currently live with their operations, while Bitcoin Co has shut down its exchange (BX) in August and Bitherb and Huobi Thailand have yet to begin their operations.

Also, three companies – Coin TH Co Ltd, bitherb.net and Bitazza Co Ltd. – have been granted digital asset broker licenses. Of these, only Coin TH Co Ltd has commercially launched its services and is the only digital asset dealer to have secured SEC approval.

Furthermore, Longroot Thailand Co Ltd, T-BOX Thailand Co and SE Digital Company Ltd are the only three ICO portal companies that have won approval from the regulator.

Ruenvadee noted that all three ICO portal companies authorized by the SEC have not commenced their operations. While several firms are interested in applying to become token digital issuers, the decree requires tokens and ICOs to be offered to the public only through ICO portal companies

Current Regulations

Pursuant to the Royal Decree, investors engaging in digital asset-related trades are liable to pay a 7% value-added tax (VAT), in addition to the 15% withholding tax on capital gains and returns from such investments. Retail investors would be exempt from VAT if the trades are carried out through exchanges.

Those engaging in the sale of unauthorized digital tokens or setting up unauthorized seminars to attract cryptocurrency investment are punishable under the decree. Such entities are “liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or a fine not exceeding two times the price at which all digital tokens were offered by such person but not less than five hundred thousand Baht, or to both.”

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