While regulators in countries such as the United States are still scratching their heads on the issue of cryptocurrencies, the Thai government has already drawn a detailed plan of how they will set up their own central bank digital currency. That there is one example of why Thailand is now considered a hub when it comes to crypto and the blockchain. It is definitely one of the top countries when it comes to crypto in South East Asia. 2018 has seen the government become very outspoken and increasingly warm towards crypto projects and exchanges. Within a short period of time, Thai regulators have made notable progress which ranges from setting up crypto licensing companies to allowing exchanges and ICOs.
The country has also attracted foreign investors by providing clear and explicit guidelines for foreign blockchain companies to operate. This is not only unique to Thailand but is also being seen all across Southeast Asia. This is definitely food for thought for all cryptocurrency startups as they seek to stretch their reach worldwide. It has astounded many how a tiny country like Thailand has made so much progress in the crypto space. The key for them has been the strategy employed by regulators and local companies in that country. Unlike US companies, most Asian blockchain outfits work hand in hand with local regulators from day 1. These companies work hard to build relationships with their local governments making them credible in the eyes of these governments.
It isn’t just blockchain startups trying to get into governments good books in that part of the world. Governments too are reaching out to crypto startups. According to Zach Cheah, CEO of Pundi X, the governments in South East Asia are morphing themselves to try and fit into blockchain global scheme of things. He stated that there is usually a notable presence of key government regulatory people at big blockchain meetups. He stated his belief that these regulatory people are well aware of the block chain’s potential of changing the financial landscape. These positive meet-ups with regulators have provided a safe haven for crypto enthusiasts with regulators in that country also working overtime to provide a legal framework for crypto and blockchain technologies.
2018 has seen big wins for crypto in Thailand. In June The Thai government legalized 7 cryptocurrencies which are ripple, Bitcoin, ethereum, ethereum classic, Bitcoin cash, litecoin, and stellar. The following month the Thai SEC permitted additional token issuers to apply for operating licenses. The same month also saw them categorize ICOs into either, Investment tokens, cryptocurrency and utility tokens. Thailand is noted to have made all these developments at a speed that is not commonly seen in most countries. This speed has attracted a lot of foreign companies such as Bithump who are planning to set up shop soon in the country. IBM and Krungsri have also announced a 140 million dollar project to kick off in the country where they will be seeking to explore digital banking and blockchain technology.
As time goes on though, new market entrants may find it difficult to penetrate as regulators add more stringent measures and higher standards on which digital tokens to accept. A positive though is that the region is still in the early stages of crypto adoption and most startups still have a shot. Thailand is proof that there are countries further east that are more open to cryptocurrencies.