While we are still waiting to learn if the QuadrigaCX cold wallet can be accessed so that subscribers can get their bit coins back, as I said at the end of my first article, we are still witnessing an upsurge in crypto currencies, helped by the advancement of Alternative Coin Technologies that employ Blockchain.
Ethereum, for instance, has a Smart Contract based on Blockchain Technology that affords organizations full autonomy. Many companies are already building decentralized applications on top of Ethereum's Blockchain and their ERC20 Standard is a mechanism that is fuelling massive growth in ICO Space globally. Many other amazing technologies let us decentralize archaic banking systems, remittance globally and interconnectivity such as what IOTA is doing for the internet of things (IoT), which will connect all our Smart Devices through their Tangle Technology.
Sia platform will help decentralize cloud storage, making it more efficient, far more secure, cheaper ($2 per TB of Storage vs. Amazon at $23 per TB) and centralized. The Golem Project holds a lot of potential value for the future, as it will effectively create a truly decentralized Web. Combining the power of computers all over the world will provide all the necessary hardware resources, and Ethereum-based payments will clear transactions.
Ripple is another that acts as a payment network, RippleNet, and a cryptocurrency, Ripple XRP. The platform makes it easy to transfer almost any currency to almost any other currency in the world in no longer than four seconds. Currently, Ripple is focused on working with banks and other institutions in a bid to offer an efficient and cost-effective way of sending real-time payments around the world.
Meanwhile, regulators are trying to find ways to control these new crypto investments and make sure they don’t escape taxation and their subscribers are protected.
But a question remains; are crypto assets securities or commodities? Governments around the world are taking different positions and issuing regulations since Bitcoin has expanded through thousands of ICOs (aka, the process that devises a new digital currency). According to an investigating report released by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2017, “Whether or not a particular transaction involves the offer and sale of a security — regardless of the terminology used — it will depend on the facts and circumstances, including the economic realities of the transaction”. This shows that in the attempt to keep pace with current developments, regulators are trying to intervene by going beyond legal parameters.
Countries, like Japan, have embraced cryptocurrency. As a matter of fact, they have approved the operations of 17 cryptocurrency exchanges, as of January 2019. Still, this does not mean that Japan’s Financial Service Authority is not closely monitoring cryptocurrency exchanges. In sum, governments can decide to leave the cryptocurrency exchange sector as it is or create a more transparent and fair environment for businesses to operate.
That’s what Thailand has opted for. The country surprisingly opened up to cryptocurrency and Blockchain in 2018. I say surprisingly, as just one year earlier, when the crypto fever went high, the Bank of Thailand governor, Veerathai Santiprabhoh, turned down a proposal by Deputy Prime Minister Sokid Jatusripitak to create a friendlier environment for fin-tech companies while in parallel revising the law to legalize Bitcoin in the country. Less than one year later, Thailand issued a Royal Decree to regulate cryptocurrency transactions, requiring all businesses and parties dealing with crypto to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission. At the time of writing, the SEC has approved four exchanges from which people can directly buy tokens. These are: Bitcoin Co., Ltd (BX, bx.in.th), Bitkub Online Co., Ltd. (BITKUB, bitkub.com), Satang Corporation Limited (Satang Pro, satang.pro) and licensed as broker and trader Coins TH Company (Coins.co.th). Others are also on their way. What’s more surprising is that Thai regulators have tried to think beyond the “Token War” as they realize the potential economic gains of setting the foundation for a Blockchain ecosystem.
Unlike their Chinese and US counterparts, Asian Blockchain companies in Thailand and Malaysia have taken advantage of their networks and established close-knitted relations with regulators who are very keen to learn real case studies from the implementers. Furthermore, the Thai regulatory framework has gained a good reputation in the region as enough regulations have been put in place to attract investors but not so many legal hurdles to stay in the way of promoters and developers. For all these reasons, Thailand should become one of the main Blockchain hubs in Southeast Asia.