The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission has issued an investment warning against ICOs operating in the country without its recognition, registration and supervision.
The Bangkok Post reports that Thailand’s premier markets regulator is taking action after discovering a number of unregistered coin sales being promoted in Thailand through social media platforms like Facebook and Youtube.
“High Investment Risk”
In its warning, the SEC specifically named nine such unregistered entities offering unrecognised cryptocurrency sales in its jurisdiction. The companies named are: Every Coin, Orientum Coin (ORT Coin), OneCoin and OFC Coin, Tripxchain Coin (TXC Coin), TUC Coin, G2S Expert ICO, Singhcom Enterprise ICO, Adventure hostel Bangkok ICO and Kidstocurrency ICO.
According to the regulator, none of these entities has gone through the necessary steps for approval such as making an official application, showing evidence of meeting qualifying criteria and having their smart contracts assessed for adequacy. The SEC categorised these investments as “high investment risk,” urging investors to refrain from putting their money into them.
It will be recalled that in 2017, Thailand’s SEC released its ICO regulation guidelines which stated in part:
“ICO fundraising needs to be done through an ICO portal approved by the SEC. The ICO acceptance criteria may include due diligence and screening of funders from dishonest people. The source code of the smart contract will automatically be enforced against the contract. After the sale, the SEC publishes a copy of the statement on the SEC website.”
Going further, the regulator also mentioned that in all the cases regarding the listed ICOs, the amount of information provided is not enough to conclusively present an investment case, and even worse, there is no evidence that the coins being sold will have enough liquidity to be listed for trading, and as such they cannot be exchanged for fiat or other cryptos. What this means to Thai investors is that they could potentially be investing in digital assets that are completely worthless.
Cross-Border ICO Scams
The SEC also noted that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) had previously issued an investment warning against OneCoin and its affiliated businesses, stating that it was operating without the regulator’s supervision. OneCoin has also attracted investment warnings in several jurisdictions, indicating that its promoters are likely opportunists making their way around the Southeast Asia region trying to take advantage of naive investors.
According to the SEC, their modus operandi is to present cryptocurrency investment schemes that are little more than classic pyramid schemes dressed up in new clothes. These schemes require the addition of more and more investors at an ever-expanding rate to keep functioning. As soon as the number or rate of new additions drops, the entire scheme fails and the promoters abscond with outsized profits, leaving crypto investors holding the metaphorical bag.