Thailand has the potential to be a regional hub for digital currencies, with annual trading volume expected to grow by at least 500% over the next 1-3 years, driven by initiatives to regulate digital assets, says Icora Consultant.
If that forecast holds true, Thailand will rank among the top Asian countries for digital currency trading in three years, said chief executive Karndee Leopairote.
“Thailand has an environment that supports digital assets and initial coin offerings (ICOs), as we are among the few countries in the world that have acted on dealing with digital assets,” Ms Karndee said.
With the digital asset royal decree coming into force since mid-year, foreign investors have paid greater attention to Thailand’s digital asset market despite the 7% value-added tax and a 15% withholding tax on capital gains from digital asset investments that seem quite high, she said.
“We are the first country in the world that has laws for all ICOs and other digital assets — exchanges, ICO portals, brokers and dealers,” Ms Karndee said.
The royal decree on digital asset businesses went into effect on May 14. The new legislation was enacted to regulate digital asset offerings and businesses undertaking digital-asset-related activities.
Pursuant to the royal decree, digital assets cover cryptocurrencies, digital tokens and any other electronic data units, as specified by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
At least three ICO portals are expected to be certified by financial regulators by year-end, with additional ICO portals set to be approved in next year’s first quarter, Ms Karndee said.
Icora is among the ICO portals that applied to become a certified ICO portal, she said, adding that the company has about 10 ICO deals in the pipeline, two of which are getting ready to launch their offerings once Icora becomes an authorised ICO portal.
Ms Karndee said three points of weakness in ICO regulations in Thailand need further regulatory revision: the cost of issuing an ICO, whereby the fixed cost is 3 million baht excluding financial advisory fees; the long period to approve an ICO issuance; and the investment limit capped at 300,000 baht per ICO issuance for retail investors.