Category Archives: Apisak Tantivorawong

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Thailand Follows Asian Trend Towards Crypto Adoption With Real Vigour

Thailand’s government is surging forward with its plans to keep up with Asia’s cryptocurrency drive as it continues to promote crypto products in the South East Asian country.

The Asian blockchain jobs and employment market is booming with a 50% increase in industry roles since 2017. UK-based specialist professional recruitment consultancy Robert Walters reports that startups and established corporations in Asia are on a recruitment drive, with many crypto industry positions now becoming more appealing to those from more conventional sectors.

Thailand clearly has no intention of being left behind in this Asian digital technical renaissance. Regulators in Thailand are liberal in their dealings with crypto exchanges, and exchange licenses are available without being at the same time prohibitive due to over legislation. This year has seen a real impetus in the Thai’s charge towards making Fintech development a priority.

In early April 2018, Thailand’s Ministry of Finance released plans to tax cryptocurrency trading and investments. After a cabinet meeting in late March, Thai Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong responded to a letter sent by digital asset associations calling for the Deputy Prime Minister and government to “rethink the enforcement of a royal decree to regulate digital asset transactions — particularly the withholding tax, as it could be an obstacle to startup fund-raising.”

It was with a swiftness rarely seen in the west that Thailand showed this enthusiasm for crypto in June when regulators issued a number of new licenses with the SEC inviting applications from other trading institutions to apply. The regulator went on to clarify the position of potential ICO’s by dividing them into discrete categories;  investment tokens, utility tokens, and cryptocurrency.

It is suggested that such clarification of guidelines and rules for conducting ICOs by the SEC will at least bring Thailand into line with its East Asian competitors such as Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan as it develops its crypto space with an enthusiastic eye on its fintech future.

Recently the Bank of Thailand (BoT) said that it has plans to initiate a CBDC which would be primarily aimed at internal bank transactions called Project Inthanon.

The BoT is partnering with eight financial institutions on the CBDC project – including Bangkok Bank Public, Krung Thai, Siam Commercial Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and HSBC. The bank has suggested that the CBDC could cater for domestic wholesale funds transfers, third-party funds transfers, and cross-border transactions, along with some further applications.

Confirmation last month from Thailand’s government that the Thai Bond Market Association (TBMA) is currently developing a state-run token to ensure payments and the clearing of corporate bonds, is yet another statement of intent that Thailand is serious about a future with cryptocurrency.

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Clearer Ground Rules for Thai Crypto Space

Thailand has clarified its position and some new rules regarding the holding and purchasing of cryptocurrencies in a royal decree published on 13 May on a royal gazette, according to the Bangkok Post.

The Royal Thai Government Gazette, frequently abbreviated Government Gazette (GG) or Royal Gazette, is the public journal and newspaper of record of Thailand. Laws passed by the government generally come into force after publication in the GG.

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that offerings of digital currency will not be allowed until the new regulations are finalized in June, according to Reuters. The decree, which took effect on Monday, requires sellers and operators to register assets to the SEC within 90 days. Sellers of digital tokens unauthorized by the SEC will be fined no more than twice the value of the digital transaction or at least 500,000 Thai baht (THB or approximately USD 15,500) and could also face a jail term of up to two years.

The Bangkok Times has reported that finance minister Apisak Tantivorawong said that the law was necessary to regulate cryptocurrencies and digital tokens to prevent money laundering, tax avoidance, and crime.

In early April 2018, Thailand’s ministry of finance released plans to tax cryptocurrency trading and investments according. The proposed 15% capital gains tax is considered by digital asset operators in Thailand to be a stifling figure for the industry. It puts financial pressure on startups seeking to break into the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry, which could hinder overall innovation in the country. There is also a 7% VAT charged on all cryptocurrency trades in the country.

Minister Tantivorawong made it clear that the new rules were “not meant to prohibit cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings (ICOs) and other digital asset-related transactions, but to protect investors”.

“Good news for Thai crypto enthusiasts was provided by The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) earlier this month at the announcement of a blockchain-powered crowdfunding platform to facilitate startups and small enterprises in the Southeast Asian country,” CCN reports.

The platform, known as LiVE, plans to provide a “complete startup ecosystem” which will also provide education for new businesses and easier access to institutional investors. So far, only eight businesses have been targetted by SET, but there are plans to ask more than 50 companies to join the program.


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