Thailand’s Finance Ministry has granted operating licenses to four cryptocurrency-related businesses in the country, according to a Bangkok Post report.
Among the four crypto businesses, three – Bitcoin Co, Bitkub Online Co Ltd, and Satang Corporation Co Ltd – will operate as cryptocurrency exchanges, while one – Coins TH Co Ltd – has received a license to operate as a broker and dealer of cryptocurrencies.
According to a statement by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the ministry has denied the application of two other exchanges – Cash2Coins Co Ltd and Southeast Asia Digital Exchange Co Ltd – for issuing similar licenses citing sub-standard asset maintenance system and the electronic Know Your Customer system.
Both these firms have to terminate their cryptocurrency businesses. However, the ministry has permitted them to continue their operations until January 14 to notify customers about digital asset transfers or transfer customers’ holding of digital assets to other digital asset exchanges. Both companies will have to report to the SEC about the transferred or returned digital assets and can re-apply for an operating license in the future.
The application of another crypto exchange, Coin Asset Co, is also waiting for approval by the Finance Ministry which is still assessing its business practices. This exchange, however, can continue its operation until any further notice from the ministry.
Thailand and Cryptocurrency
In early 2018, the Bank of Thailand issued a circular asking the financial institutions to refrain from doing any business involving cryptocurrencies. However, a royal decree was issued later in May in favor of the crypto exchanges.
Moreover, the SEC has introduced a regulatory framework last year which defined rules for investing in digital assets offered in an initial coin offering (ICO).
With the recent developments, the crypto exchanges in Thailand are very optimistic and believe that this will encourage institutional investors to consider crypto investments.
“Investors in cryptocurrencies are mostly retail, but since this business is not illegal I expect institutional investors will own the majority of shares in the future, similar to the traditional capital market,” Jirayut Srupsrisopa, co-founder and CEO of Bitkub Capital Holdings, told the Bangkok Post.
Bitkub is now considering a partnership with two securities firm encourage mainstream market investors’ transition from traditional capital market to the digital asset investments.
“The cryptocurrency market can grow by 10 times in the next 2-3 years from UScopy00 billion to copy trillion (3.21 trillion to 321 trillion baht). The size is tiny compared with global stock markets, which have a combined value of $70 trillion,” Srupsrisopa added.
(Photo: Bank of Thailand)