In a significant move, Thailand's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has introduced new rules to reshape the landscape for digital asset businesses and tokenisation in the country. The focus is on fostering investor participation while supporting national development goals.
Retail investors are now liberated to engage in initial coin offerings (ICOs) for real estate-backed tokens and those tied to real estate revenues, as the SEC lifted the previous 300,000 baht (USD $8,415) restriction. Similar barriers for infrastructure ICOs have also been removed, paving a path towards broader investment accessibility.
The SEC's objective is clear: striking a balance between protecting investors and mobilising funds for national development. To ensure a prudent expansion of digital asset businesses, the SEC has outlined rules for obtaining approval before businesses can venture into these products. The criteria includes an assessment of whether the new activities will benefit the core business, help to avoid conflicts or otherwise not create additional conflicts of interest, and whether adequate risk assessment procedures are in place to protect consumers from these new activities.
Thailand's SEC is also tightening oversight on digital asset custody businesses within larger groups to prevent conflicts of interest arising from shared shareholders with digital asset businesses.
In a parallel development, the Thai government's ambitious 500 billion baht (USD $14 billion) digital currency giveaway is facing scrutiny. Critics argue against the necessity of such a move, citing the absence of an economic reason that justifies the giveaway. Concerns also revolve around the fiscal implications and funding for loan repayments, leading to delays that could push the project beyond May 2024.
As Thailand navigates these advances, the SEC's progressive stance aims to cultivate a secure and inclusive digital investment environment, reflecting the current broader global trend toward embracing the future of finance with blockchain.
By Luke Higgins and Michael Bacina