Thailand has been consistently growing as a country with an increasingly structured cryptocurrency space. This reputation appears to be well-founded, as the country is now attracting more companies in the industry.
What a Regulated Environment Can Achieve
Thailand made a splash in the crypto space when the government approved the Royal Decree on the Digital Asset Businesses B.E. 2561. The decree went into effect last May, and it provided definitions for digital assets, the business scope of digital currencies, and the scope of regulation, amongst others.
Amongst other things, this decree has now made it possible for companies to seek out licenses. Per reports, the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has now approved 13 companies to act as digital asset service providers.
The companies include six cryptocurrency exchanges — Bitkub, EXR, Satang Pro, BX, Huobi Thailand, and Zipmex. The agency also approved three digital asset brokers — Bitazza, Coins TH, and Kulap. However, Coins TH is the only licensed dealer that appears to be operational.
Finally, the regulator has approved four Initial Coin Offering (ICO) portals — SE Digital, T-box, Bitherb, and Longroot. Bitherb is a joint venture between Japanese crypto exchange Bitcoin Japan and the Asia Herb Association Bangkok Co. Ltd, but it’s not yet functional.
Progress with the approvals has been quite impressive. This time last year, the Thai SEC had only approved five digital asset trading licenses — the agency approved Huobi Global on July 5, 2019.
Thailand Progresses With a CBDC
The success in Thailand’s private crypto sector is also matched by progress in the public space. With many countries on the verge of launching Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), Thailand is also working earnestly to do the same. The Bank of Thailand announced last month that it was moving ahead with a pilot program for a CBDC, claiming that it was working towards an asset that would function for large-scale enterprises.
As the official press release confirmed, the bank partnered with Siam Cement Group, Thailand’s largest provider of cement and building materials. Thai FinTech firm Digital Ventures Company Limited also participated in the pilot program.
The bank gave a progress report two weeks ago, with local English news source The Nation claiming in a report that it had successfully deployed the CBDC and was using it for large-scale business transactions.
Per the report, the Bank of Thailand has entered the third phase of developing its “digital Baht.” The bank now plans to expand it to include more businesses.
Most particularly, the bank has plans to collaborate with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Hong Kong’s central banking institution, in September. The Bank of Thailand is also exploring the possibility of expanding the asset’s use to the general public to provide low-cost, real-time transaction functionalities. However, it believes that there will be some required study to explore the potential implications of a general-purpose CBDC.
The Bank of Thailand is reportedly following China’s blueprint, as they believe that Beijing’s rollout of its digital Yuan hasn’t had any side effects thus far.