Bitcoin

Bitcoin Daily: New Thai Regulations As UK Poll Calls For Blockchain Official

Bitcoin Daily

Thailand has launched regulations on digital tokens, and those rules will take effect on July 16.

According to a Wednesday (July 4) report from Deal Street Asia, the country’s financial regulators have decided that “issuers of digital tokens must be a company registered under Thai law and will be able to offer such assets of an unlimited amount to institutional investors, ultra-high net-worth investors, venture capital and private equity firms.”

Those tokens can be offered to retail investors for more than about $9,100 each. The move comes after a March announcement that Thailand’s Finance Ministry would impose a “15 percent withholding tax on gains from digital tokes and cryptocurrency trade.”

In other news, a lawmaker in the U.K. is raising this question: Does the success of blockchain require a government official whose job focuses on the technology?

Eddie Hughes, a member of Parliament from the U.K. Conservative party, said Wednesday that the government should appoint a “public-facing chief blockchain officer,” according to reports. He envisions that the official would shape “strategy for the tech’s use in public services, with a long-term goal to reduce the government’s annual expenditure by one percent,” the report said.

The idea hits at an appropriate time. That’s because more than 40 percent of the 29 startups that the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority has accepted for its fourth sandbox cohort have ideas anchored to blockchain technology.

Hughes is not alone in his call for more blockchain attention. The upper chamber of Parliament, the relatively powerless House of Lords, last year issued a report highlighting how blockchain could improve government services.

Shifting toward mainland Europe: Switzerland is a land of chocolate, cheese, Alpine landscapes and bank secrecy laws. Now it reportedly wants to be become what Cryptovest calls a “Crypto Nation.”

The chances of that happening appear to be increasing, as the publication reported Wednesday that Swiss authorities are pressuring banks to adopt friendlier attitudes toward startups involved with cryptocurrencies.

The problem is the country’s “strict anti-money laundering rules and other procedures related to managing clients,” which has made it difficult for those fledgling firms to access traditional banking services. Now, though, the “Swiss Finance Ministry is working Swiss Bankers Association to remove this major obstacle to the growth of the industry.”

The stakes are nothing to shrug at — last year, some $1.46 billion worth of investment in Switzerland was tied to cryptocurrency.

The anxiety is notably acute in Zug, a town near Zurich that is home to some 200 blockchain-related startups. “Canton Zug has invested a lot of effort into building its reputation as a ‘Crypto Valley’ global blockchain hub. If banks fail to provide a reliable environment for start-ups to pay their bills then this image will take a severe hit,” said Guido Schmitz-Krummacher, a former board member of the blockchain-focused Tezos Foundation.

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