Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved a foreign-based Initial Coin Offering (ICO) portal to operate in Thailand, the first of its kind. The unnamed portal will be in charge of screening ICOs, conducting due diligence, auditing and approving smart contract code bases, and conducting KYC (Know Your Customer) procedures for the applicants.
As reported by the Bangkok post, Archari Suppiroj, director of the Fintech department at the Thailand SEC stated that the SEC has already approved the portal but the regulator is finalizing on the relevant papers with other complimentary government agencies including the Commerce Ministry. She told the Bangkok Post that “the first ICO deal will be available for public offering in the near future under the digital asset royal decree.”
In addition to the launch of the first ICO portal in the country, the SEC is expected to give a directive on the regulatory procedures that will govern the offering of security tokens through crowdfunding, a phenomenon that is gaining popularity in the west as well.
A security token offering (STO) is just as similar to the ICO with the added difference that the STO actually conforms to regulations set forth by the SEC. they are effectively ICOs that follow KYC and AML rules as well as investor protection measures.
According to Archari, about 7-8 entities expressed interest in becoming ICO portals and they conducted pre-consultations with the SEC. Only one has been approved and despite Archari not revealing the identity of the entity, she did state that the entity was foreign. Archari also holds the view that the ICO model has become more mature now and is “graduating from project-based and intangible ideas to ICOs backed by physical assets such as real estate.”
According to the initial SEC timeline, the very first ICO portal was scheduled for approval by November 2018 with expectations for conducting the first ICO as soon as December 2018 but the process was delayed apparently.