Thailand’s SEC: Initial Crypto Ban was to Protect Investors

Asia Blockchain Review
May 19, 2019

An official from the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has explained the rationale behind the country’s initial ban on cryptocurrencies and how regulators juggled the concerns of investor protection with fostering financial innovation.

Currently, Thailand has defined regulations addressing digital assets, issued via a series of announcements from the government, the central bank, as well as the SEC. But initially, the Bank of Thailand (BoT) had imposed a ban on cryptocurrencies, prohibiting banks from offering crypto exchange services. Achari Suppiroj, Director of the FinTech Department at the SEC, addressed the audience at the Ripple Regionals event held in Bangkok and discussed the reasons behind this initial ban.

She explained that the ban was always meant as a stop gap for the problems surrounding the crypto-related scams of the time. According to the SEC official, bad actors had been using blockchain and “other cool words” to con people, prompting concerns of investor protection.

Achari revealed, “We [the SEC] were already working with the BoT and other relevant agencies to craft really comprehensive law to govern this space.”

The director noted that it took three months for Thailand to set out a new regulatory framework for cryptos, which classified virtual currencies as digital assets.

Achari noted that prior to the ban, any individual or organization could invite people to invest in exchange for project tokens. Now, with a regulatory framework in place, only companies licensed under Thai law can issue initial coin offerings (ICOs), which undergo vetting through ICO portals before submission to the SEC for endorsement.


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