As STOs rise in prominence, certain jurisdictions in South East Asia are taking some exciting steps towards regulating digital assets.
In January, Malaysia announced that they would classify tokens as securities, making STOs legal there. Then, at the beginning of February, the Philippines announced that their Digital Asset and Token Offering (DATO) regulation would enable the regulated sale of tokenized securities in the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority.
On February 22nd, Thailand’s national legislative assembly made another major step forward for the region, legalizing STOs in an amendment to the country’s Securities and Exchange Act (SEA). The Thai securities commision seems so far to be the most liberal in the region, already issuing several cryptocurrency operator’s licenses. Fully legal security token exchanges appear to be on the way, as well.
Only a few years ago, Thailand seemed to be taking a fairly regressive stance in regards to blockchain and cryptocurrencies. In 2013, the Bank of Thailand issued a ruling that essentially made Bitcoin illegal. As a result, for nearly five years, Bitcoin existed in a grey area, unuseable for the exchange of any kind of asset. It wasn’t until January 2018 that the securities commission published a statement declaring it legal, though unregulated.
Meanwhile, as early as 2017, regulators in Thailand sought to create some clarity around token sales. In October of that year, the Securities Commision created a regulatory framework for ICOs, restricting participation to institutional and accredited investors.
February 2018’s SEA amendment opens a world of possibilities for blockchain entrepreneurs in Asia. Before, anyone who hoped to set up an STO on the continent was basically out of luck. Now, Thailand is a real option for Asian crypto projects.
Taking advantage of the growing acceptance of blockchain in Thailand, a number of exciting startups have launched. Here’s just two of them:
Bitkub is a next generation digital asset exchange that empowers users to buy, sell, and store Bitcoin, Ether, and other cryptocurrencies in exchange for Thai Baht.
The company was only founded in February 2018, but is currently valued at several hundred million Baht. In 2019, they plan to expand their operations in two ways: First, they are seeking a license in order to establish themselves as a security token exchange. Second, they intend to expand trading volumes by boosting the variety of tokens on the platform.
Moneytable is a human resources and financial benefits platform for companies and their employees. Founded in 2016, they are committed to the digitization of the workplace, building a ‘Virtual Smart Network and Secure Financial Ecosystem.’ In their seed round alone they managed to raise $1.5 million and could be on track to have a successful STO in Thailand.
Previously, everyone looked to Singapore as a potential hub for crypto on the Asian continent. However, it doesn’t seem that regulators there are as open as was hoped to the Security Token concept. Could Thailand take Singapore’s place, and lead the pack among ‘safe’ crypto jurisdictions in Asia?
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