Accenture Launches Commercial R3 Blockchain Solution in Thailand

Global consulting giant Accenture and Digital Ventures, a fintech subsidiary of Thai financial services conglomerate Slam Commercial Bank (SCB) have announced the launch of a jointly developed blockchain solution that makes commercial operations in Thailand more efficient by using R3‘s open-source Corda blockchain protocol to revamp the process of making and receiving payments and accessing … Continued

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$6.4 Million of Thai Actor’s Family Assets Seized in $24 Million Bitcoin Fraud Case

Thailand BitcoinTen months after a Finnish national filed a complaint after losing 5,564 bitcoins to fraudsters in Thailand, the family of the Thai television actor Jiratpisit ‘Boom’ Jaravijit is now the target of the country’s anti-money laundering agency in relation to the scam. According to The Nation, Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) has seized assets worth

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Thailand Studies Blockchain for Applications in Intellectual Property, Trade Finance

Two feasibility studies on blockchain technology have been launched by Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce. The studies, which will focus on exploring the use of blockchain technology in trade finance and the registration of intellectual property, are expected to be completed in February 2019, per the Bangkok Post. According to Pimchanok Vonkorpon, the director of Thailand’s

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Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank will Pioneer ‘Multi-Hop’ on Ripple Blockchain

According to a September 28th blog from Ripple, the Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) will be the first to use RippleNet’s “multi-hop” feature. This will allow the bank to settle frictionless payments on behalf of other financial entities in Ripple’s enterprise blockchain network. Ripple says the multi-hop feature gives the SCB the ability to: “Receive and forward … Continued

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Popular Thai Foreign Exchange Chain Superrich to Add Cryptocurrencies

Super Rich: Popular Thai Foreign Exchange Chain to Add Cryptocurrencies

Superrich International Exchange, a popular foreign currency exchange chain in Thailand, has reportedly revealed a plan to begin offering travelers cryptocurrency exchange service in addition to 32 fiat currencies. The company has 49 locations in Thailand, one in Cambodia, one in Britain, and is also in talks with regulators to start operations in Laos.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Superrich Entering the Crypto Space

Super Rich: Popular Thai Foreign Exchange Chain to Add CryptocurrenciesSuperrich International Exchange (1965) Co. has unveiled its plans to enter the crypto space, according to local media.

Having been in business since 1965, Superrich describes itself as “The best currency exchange in Thailand with 49 locations throughout the country and 2 in other countries, with 32 currencies available.” The chain consists of 43 locations in Bangkok, six in Thailand’s provinces, one in Cambodia and one in Britain. In addition, the company is in talks with the Laotian authorities to begin money-changing operations in the country, the Bangkok Post reported on Sept. 24.

Super Rich: Popular Thai Foreign Exchange Chain to Add Cryptocurrencies

The president of Superrich, Piya Tantivachayanon, was quoted by the publication saying:

We would offer digital asset exchange for travellers…The company also plans to offer an e-wallet service, and we’re exploring business partners[hips] to help develop technology. There are many companies from Malaysia, Britain and Laos that have expressed interest.

According to Tantivachayanon, Superrich is “modernising its branches by adopting new technology to serve customer demand and compete with other money changers,” the news outlet detailed. Ryt9 publication added that the company hopes to start offering a crypto exchange service this year.

Waiting for Regulatory Approval

Super Rich: Popular Thai Foreign Exchange Chain to Add CryptocurrenciesSuperrich has already discussed its plans to offer crypto exchange and wallet services with the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) twice, according to the Bangkok Post. Thailand’s cryptocurrency regulations went into effect on May 14, installing the SEC as the main regulator of the country’s crypto industry. The agency is currently reviewing a number of applications from companies wanting to operate crypto businesses in Thailand.

Super Rich: Popular Thai Foreign Exchange Chain to Add CryptocurrenciesThe news outlet noted that, in addition to the approval by the SEC, Superrich is also waiting for regulatory clarity from the Bank of Thailand. Unlike other companies seeking to operate a crypto business in the country, Superrich is a money business, meaning it falls under the jurisdiction of the central bank. As such, the company will operate in a new segment of the country and, if approved, will be the first in Thailand to operate “a digital asset exchange for foreign currency,” the publication conveyed. “Mr Piya said the company [also] seeks to list on the Market for Alternative Investment because becoming a public company would earn it more public trust.”

According to E-finance Thai news outlet, once the Bank of Thailand has provided regulatory clarity for financial firms to operate crypto businesses, Superrich will be ready to immediately begin its crypto operations, exchanging cryptocurrencies that the Thai SEC has approved.

What do you think of Superrich getting into the crypto business? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Superrich, Bank of Thailand, Thai SEC, and Pixabay.


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Surrender or Else: Thai Authorities Slap Mastermind of $24 Million Bitcoin Fraud with Deadline

The prime suspect in Thailand’s multi-million dollar bitcoin fraud case now only has a few days to make plans for his surrender or else efforts to extradite him will kick off. Thailand’s Crime Suppression Division has given Prinya Jaravijit, who is believed to be the mastermind behind the fraudulent scheme in which a Finnish investor

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$24 Million Thai Bitcoin Fraud: Defrauded Finn Withdraws Complaint Against 2 Suspects

The 22-year-old Finnish investor who was defrauded of 5,564 bitcoins in Thailand has agreed to withdraw his complaint against two key suspects. According to the deputy commander of Thailand’s Crime Suppression Division, Chakrit Sawasdee, a complaint against prominent Stock Exchange of Thailand trader, Prasit Srisuwan, and a majority shareholder of tech firm Expay Software Co,

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Thailand AML Watchdog Plans to Seize Bitcoin from Criminal Proceeds

Thailand’s anti-money laundering agency is considering sealing a loophole that has seen cybercriminals face every other consequence for their actions except have their digital assets confiscated. According to the secretary of Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO), Witthaya Neetitham, the government agency is planning on setting up its own cryptocurrency wallet for the purposes of tackling … Continued

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Thailand is becoming a critical country for blockchain

While United States regulators are still trying to figure out how to think about cryptocurrencies, Thailand’s government is already mapping out its own central bank digital currency.

This is just one of numerous examples how Thailand has emerged as one the most interesting cryptocurrency and blockchain countries in Southeast Asia in 2018.

Since the start of the year, the Thai government has become increasingly outspoken and welcoming of cryptocurrency projects and exchanges. In just a few months, Thai regulators have made notable progress, from setting up cryptocurrency company licenses to permitting exchanges and ICOs. More importantly, the country has attracted foreign companies by providing clear and explicit guidelines for foreign blockchain companies to operate. It’s a pattern that we are seeing across Southeast Asia, and one that blockchain and cryptocurrency startup founders should take note as they think about global expansion.

Southeast Asia regulators are keen to understand cryptocurrency and blockchain 

To understand how a small country like Thailand can move so quickly in the blockchain space, it’s crucial to understand the strategy of regulators and local companies. Unlike their U.S. peers, most Asian blockchain companies and exchanges work with local regulators right from the beginning, even as they are first building their products and growing their communities. These teams use formal and informal relationships to get buy-in from their respective local governments in order to bolster their credibility. This pattern is particularly true for Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand.

However, it isn’t just startups that are trying to curry ties with government officials – these relationships work in both directions. Take for example Pundi X, which is a technology company building out a blockchain-based point of sale solution in Southeast Asia and globally. Its CEO, Zac Cheah, is Malaysian and local to the Southeast Asia region, and discussed with me how regulators are engaging with the startup community:

I think government is morphing and changing and many governments that we know are not you know exactly the ones that we say that are lagging behind. They, in fact, have like people, young or not so young people, that are very knowledgeable about what is happening right now. So in fact sometimes when we go to core blockchain meetups, we actually see some very core people from the regulatory side […] they know that this will change the landscape a lot so I think they are trying to think through the, if I may, the ‘tokenomics’ of how they want to get involved.”

No longer Thaied up in regulation

These types of regulatory engagements are encouraging signs for the region and particularly for Thailand, where regulators have been working quickly to provide a legal path for blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies.

In June, Thailand’s government legalized seven cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin cash, Ethereum classic, Litecoin, Ripple, and Stellar). It has also permitted a limited number of cryptocurrency exchanges and broker-dealers to apply for operating licenses. Then in July, the Thailand SEC permitted additional digital token issuers to file for applications. In the same month, the securities regulator categorized ICOs into three types: investment tokens, utility tokens, and cryptocurrency. As should be clear from this timeline, the speed at which these regulators execute decisions has surpassed that of most countries in the West as well as the rest of Asia.

Part of that speed is that in Thailand, regulators have shown an openness to knowledge exchange. For example, recently the Thailand SEC held a dialogue with Vitalik Buterin and the OmiseGo team on the status of exchanges and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). For Thailand, having a local, knowledgeable, and well-established team such as Omise is very helpful to building a clear regulatory environment for companies.

Photo by Juan Antonio Segal used under Creative Commons.

In fact, we are seeing foreign companies already starting to gravitate towards Thailand’s crypto opportunity, with both Western and Eastern businesses seeking opportunities in the country. In early July, Bithumb, the second largest cryptocurrency exchange in Korea, announced that it plans to open in Thailand after receiving the required regulatory approval from the local government. IBM and Krungsri, one of Thailand’s largest financial institutions with 8.6mn credit cards, sales finance, and personal loan accounts, announced a five-year $140 million engagement to build out digital banking, including blockchain technology. The crypto momentum will likely continue in Thailand, and more announcements and developments should come in the second half of the year.

Not only has it become open to private cryptocurrency companies, but the Thailand government is also testing its own blockchain technologies. For example, it has allowed the Thai Bond Market Association to create a “BondCoin,” a custom token on a private blockchain between permissioned participants including issuers and investors alongside regulators and registered firms.

Then just last week, Bank of Thailand (BOT) outlined a preliminary roadmap for ‘Project Inthanon,’ its central bank digital currency (CBDC) initiative. This is following similar projects initiated by other central banks, including the Bank of Canada, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the Monetary Authority of Singapore. BoT plans to work with eight participating banks to start building a prototype. The announcement of Project Inthanon says: “The BOT and the participating banks will collaboratively design and develop a proof-of-concept prototype for wholesale funds transfer by issuing wholesale Central Bank Digital Currency (Wholesale CBDC).”

Phase 1 of Project Inthanon will involve development and testing of key payment features such as a liquidity-saving mechanism and risk management. It is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2019, and its outcome will be very telling of Thailand’s progress in Southeast Asia.

Building strong local Thais?

For new companies going into the region, it may become increasingly more difficult to enter. Traditionally, a large part of doing business successfully in many parts of Asia requires forming the right connections and business relationships. As the blockchain space evolves, regulators are establishing more stringent requirements and higher standards to accept additional tokens and exchanges into the country. They’ll likely be influenced in their decisions by existing teams that they already have a relationship with. That dynamic is something cryptocurrency companies should think about as they build out their communities in Asia, as the most established countries may not necessarily provide the most opportunities.

One positive though is that we are still in the relatively early stage of adoption in Southeast Asia, and every country in the blockchain adoption phase is at different stages. A healthy competition between Southeast Asian nations is still brewing, which may benefit newcomers. That said, the strategies used to enter one of these markets will almost certainly change and mature compared to when these opportunities were very green.

In the long run, it’s very possible for many cryptocurrency and blockchain companies to develop a codependency with their respective local government. This doesn’t just apply to Thailand and Asia but to the rest of world too. Each region’s regulators will want to further advance their own interest and form allies with local token companies. So for a project that is thinking globally, forming too close of a relationship with a small set of regulators may pull the company in directions that it otherwise would not want to.

Ultimately, for a cryptocurrency company going into any foreign markets, it is important for one’s team to have a multi-country strategy to avoid developing biases and become overly influenced by one local government. However, to succeed locally, the teams on the ground will also have to be very deeply knowledgeable and experienced in understanding the business culture and regulatory environment there.

As Thailand proves, the ground is changing rapidly on which countries are most open for blockchain and cryptocurrency business, and adapting to these changing market dynamics is critical to the success of startups and companies in the space.

‘Very Few’ Cases of Cryptocurrency Crime in Thailand, Watchdog Reveals

The head of a government watchdog in Thailand has admitted that domestic cases of cryptocurrency crime are few and far between despite calling for increased preparedness to combat it in the future. Speaking at a joint seminar with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Bangkok on Thursday, Thailand Institute of Justice … Continued

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Defrauded Finn in Settlement Talks over $24 Million Thailand Bitcoin Scam

The Finnish businessman who lost 5,564  bitcoins, worth US$24 million at the time, in a fraudulent scheme in Thailand has begun talks with some of the key suspects. According to the Bangkok Post, Aarni Otavi Saarimaa is negotiating a settlement deal with Prasit Srisuwan, a high-profile stocks trader and Chakris Ahmad, a tech investor. The

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Aussie Blockchain Powers P2P Solar Power Trading in Upscale Bangkok Community

Australian solar startup Power Ledger, the developer of a peer-to-peer (P2P) energy marketplace on a blockchain, has commenced a trial in Bangkok enabling residents to buy and sell solar electricity. In a first-of-its-kind trial in Asia, residents and habitants of Bangkok’s T77 precinct are participating in an ‘across the meter’ energy trial that allows users’ … Continued

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Thailand Updates ICO Licensing Progress, Warns Firm Issuing Token Without License

Thailand Updates ICO Licensing Progress, Warns Firm Issuing Token Without License

The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission has revealed the number of applications it has received from businesses wanting to operate initial coin offering portals in the country. However, at least one company is already issuing a token without obtaining approval. Meanwhile, the first Thai Stock Exchange-listed company to launch a token has a new plan to revitalize its coin.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

ICO Portal Applications

The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the country’s main cryptocurrency regulator, has revealed the number of companies that have applied to operate initial coin offering (ICO) portals in the country.

Thailand Updates ICO Licensing Progress, Warns Firm Issuing Token Without LicenseAccording to the Bangkok Insight, Mrs. Praopon Senanarong, the Assistant Secretary of the Thai SEC, said that the regulator is reviewing six applications for ICO portals, which are expected to be approved in the fourth quarter of this year. In addition, 12 more portals are interested but have not formally applied for a license.

Furthermore, the SEC will set up a committee of ICO experts and SEC representatives to oversee ICOs and ICO portals in September.

Firm Issuing Token Without License

The SEC issued a public warning last week about DB Hold Plc soliciting investments in shares and a token without approval after receiving inquiries from investors regarding the company.

Thailand Updates ICO Licensing Progress, Warns Firm Issuing Token Without LicenseAfter investigating, the SEC found that the company has been soliciting investors through social media for company shares and pre-ICO tokens in the amount of 500 million baht (~US$15,346,130).

Emphasizing that DB Hold Plc is not authorized to issue tokens, the SEC says that it has ordered the company to cease all activities relating to the issuance of the token. Furthermore, the regulator reiterates that no company has been granted approval to issue new tokens. Companies that launched their tokens prior to the adoption of the country’s crypto regulations, however, are exempt from having to apply for a license.

New Plan for First ICO by Thai Stock Exchange-listed Company

Jmart Plc is the first company listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand to issue a token. The company issued Jfincoin through its subsidiary, Jventures Plc. Despite much effort, the coin’s value has fallen from 6.60 baht (~$0.20) per coin in February to about 1.70 baht (~$0.05) within 6 months of launch, Mgr Online reported.

Thailand Updates ICO Licensing Progress, Warns Firm Issuing Token Without LicenseAdding to the loss of investor confidence is the allegation that a former Jventures executive was involved in the high-profile bitcoin fraud case involving a well-known soap actor scamming a Finnish bitcoiner, the news outlet detailed.

The company has now come up with a new plan. Jmart is seeking permission from the Bank of Thailand and the SEC to use Jfincoin for payments in stores, starting with its own Jmart stores. If approved, this coin will be the first legal token that can be used for payments in the country, the publication conveyed.

What do you think of the way Thailand is handling ICOs? Let us know in the comments section below.


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