The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) — the country’s official stock exchange — boasts a total market capitalisation of nearly US$560 billion (18 trillion baht) with more than 700 listed company in the bourse, and is also considered one of the most trustworthy exchanges in the world. Looking forward to propelling Thailand into the digital era, the SET revealed its plans to submit an application for a digital asset operating license from the country’s Ministry of Finance, to expand from its traditional offerings of commodities, options, trade securities, as well as other instruments. The move is expected to bolster the significant progress made by the private sector in Thailand regarding the adoption of cryptocurrency. Once the operating license has been approved, the SET will be able to modernize its services and products with digital offerings.
In Thailand, digital assets and cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly popular among younger entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 to 30. Private companies, as well as those listed in the SET, have been keen to provide more brokerage and trading services to cater to growing demand. Many security firms in the country have been trying to obtain a cryptocurrency license from the Thai government, yet the SET is seen to have an advantage over other firms, with its reputation as the most trustworthy and established market in the country. The SET has offered its services to investors for more than 43 years since its establishment in 1975. Moreover, in 1991, the SET was one of the first exchanges in the world to start using computerized trading with its ASSET system, or Automated System for the Stock Exchange of Thailand.
In the near future, if SET is successful in its bid to establish a market exchange for cryptocurrencies and digital assets, the bourse would be the world’s first exchange to offer separate services for digital assets. Recently, Bitkup, the country’s first cryptocurrency exchange, has expressed interest to join hands with the SET to share its experience and proficiency in operating a cryptocurrency exchange.
However, for the SET to achieve its goal, the agency must gain approval from country’s Ministry of Finance, the only agency authorized for digital license issuance in Thailand. Moreover, the SET must appeal to the national regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand.
Chairperson of the Association of Securities Companies, Pattera Dilokrungthirapop, has confirmed that the SET intends to start offering services and products related to digital assets and cryptocurrencies, amid higher demand from traders. She stated that the bourse is anticipating further growth for cryptocurrencies in the near future, as citizens become more aware of its benefits. As the SET has been a leader in stock and securities trading for over two decades, the exchange has the experience and expertise to be granted the digital asset operating license, which will enable it to begin offering cryptocurrencies to traders.
While many countries in Asia and other parts of world have demonstrated different points of view regarding the adoption of cryptocurrencies, Thailand has shown its willingness to move forward with new technologies, including blockchain. The central bank, or Bank of Thailand, has reportedly embraced cryptocurrencies and has been developing a digital currency of its own.
As for the private sector, Thailand has been a breeding ground for blockchain startups, thanks to guidelines that many other countries have yet to put in place. Although the country banned Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) in 2017 for a period of time, Thailand has since issued regulations that will offer a chance for blockchain companies to thrive by determining three categories for ICOs: cryptocurrency, investment tokens, and utility tokens. A number of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin cash, Ethereum, Ethereum classic, Litecoin, Ripple, and Stellar, were also legalized in the country in 2018.
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