Signaling an attempt to provide a new funding avenue for domestic startups, the Stock Exchange of Thailand has announced the launch of a blockchain-based crowdfunding marketplace.
The new platform, known as ‘LiVE’, is self-described as a “complete startup ecosystem, inclusively from the business management education for startup and SME entrepreneurs, to assistance in connecting with institutional and accredited investors.”
SET News: “SET officially launches “LiVE” platform with blockchain technology to grow startups”
— SET Thailand (@SET_Thailand) May 4, 2018
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The announcement explained that eight companies have made the decision to participate in LiVE so far; another 50 companies are reportedly in the process of joining.
Thai President Kesara Manchusree explained his enthusiasm for the platform as “a key mechanism to help drive forward Thailand’s growth especially enabling startups and SMEs to have more financial accesses through crowdfunding. Businesses can utilize LiVE to promote to a wider target group while using [the] partnership to expand [our] customer base.”
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CoinDesk reported that the Stock Exchange of Thailand originally announced that they were planning to build a crowdfunding platform in March of last year; upon the announcement, 600 companies expressed interest in participating.
The blockchain based crowdfunding method is not the same thing as an ICO. This is an important distinction, as the Thai government has levied heavy taxes on the practice. Two taxes on ICO gains rake in a total of 22 percent on revenues. Entities who only trade digital assets through exchanges (thus technically making no capital gains) will reportedly only pay a 7% VAT.
In late March, the Thai government approved a draft decree to comprehensively regulate cryptocurrencies and ICOs. At the time, Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong told the Royal Gazette that “the new law to comprehensively regulate cryptocurrencies and digital tokens is necessary to prevent money laundering, tax avoidance and crime…The new law is not meant to prohibit cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings (ICOs) and other digital asset-related translations, but to protect investors.”