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Thai lawmakers hint at cryptocurrency law change in 2020

By Lawrence Gash

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission stresses the need to be more ‘competitive’

Thai legislators are planning to change Thailand’s current cryptocurrency laws next year following concerns that they currently make the country less competitive.

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is set to reexamine the current laws following the poor uptake of its certification and licensing scheme for cryptocurrency businesses.

Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol, the SEC’s secretary general stated: “The regulator must be flexible to apply the rules and regulations in line with the market environment. For example, laws should not be outdated and should serve market needs, especially for new digital asset products, and be competitive with the global market. We need to explore any possible obstacles.”

Since the current scheme came into effect in 2018 only five firms have completed certification, and only two of these have actually launched.

Those attempting to sell digital tokens without the SEC’s approval currently face strong and expensive penalties. The smallest punishment is a fine of 500,000 baht ($16,540, £12,825) while the largest is a jail sentence of two years.

While there is no indication that the SEC will be any less severe to those who do not register with it or adhere to its regulations, and there are currently no precise details as to how the current regulations will be relaxed, Thailand is certainly moving in a more crypto-friendly direction. Whereas only a few years ago lawmakers were predisposed to follow China and ban cryptocurrencies outright, last month Thailand it saw its first initial coin offering (ICO).

FURTHER READING: EU rethinks its approach to regulating stablecoins

FURTHER READING: India crypto ban: Has it happened, and what’s the financial impact?

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