Thai stock exchange will launch digital asset bourse

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) announced it plans to launch a digital asset exchange late in 2022, just weeks after a local crypto-currency trading startup achieved unicorn status.

The new exchange will concentrate on investment tokens and utility tokens, not actual crypto-currencies. The SET President Pakorn Peetathawatchai called the tokens “real” fundraising instruments. He said he views crypto-currencies as more speculative assets.

The digital exchange will serve as an application interface platform and portal for collaborators such as banks, securities companies, investment management companies, wallet providers and custodians. It will facilitate them to provide their services to customers, the SET President said.

The tokens will serve as a digital counterpart to private equity or venture capital. SET can function as a seamless bridge between the traditional and digital markets, Pakorn said. SET is applying for a license to run the new bourse from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Thailand’s regulators have generally taken a cautious approach to digital currencies and assets. The central bank has created a sandbox to test out various digital regimes so they could evaluate them while not exposing small investors to the potential risks. It has also created an interbank digital currency for use only among financial institutions.

Commercial banks, however, have been more aggressive, investing in startups dealing in digital assets, blockchain, and new financial technologies, or fintech.

In November, Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) bought and invested in Bitkub, a Thailand-based crypto-currency exchange founded in 2018. The investment made Bitkub a “unicorn” – a startup valued at $1 billion or more – and helped propel it to the top ten global crypto-currency exchanges.

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