On January 8, Thailand's Security and Exchange Commission announced that the country's Ministry of Finance had issued licenses to 4 cryptocurrency companies, which will allow them to conduct digital asset business in the country. The companies that were granted licenses include 3 digital currency exchanges: Bitkub Online Co., Ltd., Bitcoin Exchange Co., Ltd. and Satang Corporation. The 4th company is a digital currency brokerage called Coins TH Co., Ltd. A 5th company named Coin Asset Co., Ltd. is reportedly being considered for a license as well. This license, though, was delayed because the company had recently changed its corporate executives, and having competent leadership is an important criteria for receiving a license. But the company is still able to operate in the country until a decision is reached by the ministry. However, the ministry rejected the applications of two other companies: SEADEX and Cash2coin, and they further ordered them to cease all operations in the country by January 14 and return all digital assets they hold back to their clients. The rejections were reportedly based on the companies' failure to comply with government criteria. Specifically, the companies were lacking in establishing quality systems relating to providing custodial services of digital assets and for ensuring know-your-customer compliance. This is not the first time that Thailand has approved cryptocurrency businesses within its borders. In August of last year, the government approved 7 other cryptocurrency companies. This was done as the country officially formalized its local cryptocurrency markets under the Emergency Degree on Digital Asset Businesses. Part of this formalization was informing the public to avoid dealing with unlicensed cryptocurrency companies, so as to prevent criminal elements in the country from having access to digital currencies. Last March, the country also implemented a set of regulations regarding initial coin offerings (ICOs). The government has said that it has recently seen a significantly increased demand for obtaining licenses to operate ICOs. They said that nearly 50 entities had so far expressed interest in receiving a license.
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