A law concerning cryptocurrencies came into force on Sunday, May 13th, stipulating that virtual currencies are to be treated as digital assets. The framework had been put together earlier this year but it has come into effect yesterday.
THAILAND BEGINS REGULATING CRYPTO
This year has been quite dynamic for the crypto field in Thailand. Back in February, the Bank of Thailand barred banks from investing in or selling digital currencies, grant loans to their clients with hopes to purchase crypto and also prohibited financial institutions to provide advisory support on the matter of crypto.
Yet, the Finance Minister of the Country, Apisak Tantivorawong saidthat:
The government will not ban cryptocurrency trading. A regulatory framework to govern digital currencies will become clearer within a month.
The royal decree which is to formally regulate transactions associated with digital assets came into force on Sunday, May 13th. This falls in line with the position of the finance minister who said that regulations were necessary in order to regulate cryptocurrency as well as digital tokens comprehensively to prevent tax avoidance, crime, money laundering, and other illegal activities.
WHAT’S THE VERDICT?
The law, which is 100-sections long, stipulates that cryptocurrencies and digital tokens are seen as digital assets. At the same time, puts them under the purview of the country’s watchdog – the Security Exchange Commission (SEC).
Cryptocurrency sellers now have 90 days to register with the SEC. Stringent sanctions will fall upon those who fail to meet the terms. They will be fined no more than twice the amount of the digital transaction or a minimum of 500,000 baht (roughly around $15,671 USD). Jail time is also on the table of possible sanctions for up to two years.
Going further, the SEC and the Ministry of Finance will be working together on putting down comprehensive laws which would require digital asset exchanges, dealers, and brokers to register with the relevant institutional authorities.
A STEP FORWARD
The country’s position is particularly clear: this decree is a step forward as this doesn’t prohibit transactions with digital assets. Neither does it forbid Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) from being carried out in Thailand. It’s a step in the right direction of regulating the relatively new field, which desperately needs clarity to boost investor confidence.