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Thailand grants licenses to four crypto exchanges

According to a recent report, the Ministry of Finance in Thailand has granted licences to three crypto exchanges and rejected the proposal of two other exchanges in its recent review.

In exception, the ministry has also given a working permit to one broker-dealer.

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission announced the list of approved applications in a press release. The seven companies have reportedly been working temporarily in Thailand for the past few years.

Four applicants were granted the licences – they are three digital asset exchanges along with one cryptocurrency broker and dealer, according to the SEC Board’s press statement.

The companies that were denied permission to operate in Thailand both applied for a digital asset exchange licence. According to the ministry, the applicants failed to meet the approval criteria regarding important work systems. For example, the systems for custody of client assets and Know Your Customer (KYC) were inconsistent with the SEC’s acceptable standards, while the sufficiency of their IT security and cybersecurity systems could not be verified.

Unfortunately, the two companies will have to close up shop in Thailand as they become subject to business cessation. However, to ensure proper proceeding of related matters including notification to the clients regarding asset refunds or asset transfers to other digital asset operators according to the clients’ order, the ministry has given them the remand till 14 January 2019.

Regarding clients’ assets under custody, the companies are requested to transfer or return the assets according to the clients’ order and notify to results of the matter to the SEC. The SEC has notified the two companies in writing of the required proceeding.

In any case, the application rejection this time does not invalidate their right to apply for a digital asset business licence in the future as long as the application criteria are met.

The application for a digital asset exchange licence filed by another exchange company is still under consideration because there has been a change of company executives, which is material information for the consideration of the application. While the Ministry of Finance is considering the material change, the company may continue business operation.

The Ministry’s move will boost the expansion of more crypto exchanges in the country as it makes Thailand the most attractive destination for crypto start-ups in the Asia-Pacific region. The year 2018 has turned out to be a successful year with numerous approvals in ICO regulations.

In June, last year, the country legalized seven cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum.

It seems likely that there will be a growing influx of crypto start-ups from neighbouring countries like India and China to Thailand this year.

According to an earlier report by OpenGov Asia, blockchain trading has been explicitly welcome by the Thai government, which has opened its arms to various cryptocurrency projects and exchanges.

In just a few months, Thai regulators made notable progress, from setting up cryptocurrency company licenses to permitting exchanges and ICOs.

As is clear from the timeline in the report, the speed at which Thai regulators execute decisions has surpassed that of most countries in the West as well as the rest of Asia.

Thailand is the land of crypto opportunity, with both Western and Eastern businesses seeking opportunities in the country. The crypto momentum will likely continue in Thailand, and more announcements and developments can be expected this year.

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