Category Archives: Bangkok Bank Public

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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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Bank of Thailand Plans for CBDC With Just a Twist of Ripple

The Bank of Thailand (BoT)has said that it has plans to initiate a CBDC which will be primarily aimed at internal bank transactions.

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. The CBDC project is similar to those carried out by other central banks, including the Bank of Canada, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Banks using the r3 Corda blockchain have the advantage of completing asset settlements with multiple participants, a reason why Ripple adopted their own system. These tokens cannot be mined as the bank will have complete autonomy as creator and distributor due to the centralized nature of using the r3 blockchain.

The BoT is currently working on the digital currency which will be built on an r3Corda blockchain, an open source blockchain which is very similar to that designed and used by Ripple. Complications could arise for the Thai central bank by choosing this particular system as legal steps have been taken by Ripple against the r3 company over possible patent issues regarding “borrowing” Ripple Labs’ expertise.

Clearly, the centralized nature of such tokens has attracted some critics given the nature of cryptocurrency and the attraction of it being tamperproof due to its decentralized status, an issue which has landed Ripple in deep water over the years.  Not only can such tokens be labeled as securities rather than assets, but as Ripple has discovered users have shown some concern about the system being open to manipulation due to the tokens being issued by one source.

Should the project be launched and CBDC become a reality the BoT have further plans to extend it for what it calls “broader functions”. The first phase of “Project Inthanon” aimed to “enhance the efficiency of the Thai financial market infrastructure” is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2019.

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