Thailand’s securities regulator has granted a coveted digital assets exchange license to Asia-Pacific crypto-fiat trading platform Zipmex.
According to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on Jan. 20, Thailand’s Ministry of Finance and the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved Zipmex for the license, which places strict regulatory requirements on applicants.
To secure the license, hopefuls must prove they have robust finances — with shareholder equity of at least 50 million baht (~$1.65 million) — and operate at a high standard in their IT and cyber security systems.
Under Thai law, licensed digital assets operators that are granted a license are classified as financial institutions and must comply with Anti Money Laundering reporting obligations.
A bid for both retail and institutional investors
As per the press release, roughly 30 crypto exchanges have applied for licenses with the SEC, two of whom have already been rejected on the grounds of insufficient Know Your Customer and security measures.
The license was introduced as part of the country’s regulatory framework for digital assets, which led to the launch of its first legal initial coin offering in October 2019.
Zipmex counts the former chairman of Stock Exchange Thailand, Dr. Sahit Limpongpan, and Professor Dr. Chaiya Yimwilai, Vice Minister to the Thai Deputy Prime Minister, as members of its advisory board.
The operator has cemented a partnership with AEC Securities Public Company in Thailand, which specializes in securities, brokerage and investment banking, in a bid to draw in both retail and institutional investors in the country.
With the license, the exchange expects to start operating in Thailand early this year, having previously launched country-centric platforms in Australia, Singapore and Indonesia.
It also closed a $3 million capital raise led by Infinity Blockchain Holdings in 2018. In a statement for the release, Dr. Limpongpan said:
“Digital currencies and securities are emerging asset classes for both the banked and unbanked. It is an interesting time in our financial history, and I’m glad Thai regulators are working with exchanges to build regulatory frameworks for these new technologies to operate within.”
A more conducive regulatory apparatus
Though they initially attempted to impose a ban on Bitcoin (BTC) back in 2013, Thai authorities came to adopt a more proactive and pragmatic approach to the crypto sector over the past year.
As reported, the Thai SEC granted licenses to four cryptocurrency firms in January of last year: Bitcoin Exchange Co., Bitkub Online Co. and Satang Corporation, as well as digital currency broker-dealer Coins TH.
The approvals were followed by an amendment to the country’s Securities and Exchange Act in February 2019, which legitimized the issuance of tokenized securities via blockchain technology.