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South East Asia: The State of Crypto and ICO regulation



Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand resemble the dynamics of East Asian regulators.

The state of the crypto regulations all around the world is dynamic but sounds very chaotic. East Asian regulators are on the verge of going berserk. Chinese don’t want anything to do with crypto. They are obsessing over Blockchain. Koreans are still in confusion. Japs have figured how neat tricks to regulate the crypto.

The other regions of the world are also facing the similar challenges faced by the East Asians. The crypto market is global but the access to the crypto by the common populace depends on the governmental policies. Everybody is not a techie or even an enthusiast to figure out these stuff on their own.

The South East Asian countries are very interesting to look at. The Chinese crackdown on crypto drove many Chinese miners and trader to this region. Let’s have a look at their regulatory frames if they have any.


Thailand’s “Capital Market Authority”, its Security and Exchange Commission have made an interesting announcement. They are going to approve at least five Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) this month out of 50. The agency said that the projects with commercial attributes and easily checked will be preferred.

The Thai SEC later said, “Rules and regulations related to digital asset investment and transactions could be eased, given that market participants are more educated on digital asset investment and domestic competition is on a par with other digital asset markets”.


The Indonesian Bank tried to impose a crackdown on the crypto in the beginning. The surge in the use of Bitcoin in the Bali by tourists prompted that decision. But it was ineffective, to say the least. Later, the cryptocurrencies gained recognition via executive government in Jakarta.

Some media reports claim that Indonesian Futures Exchange Supervisory Board (BAPPEBTI) considers them commodities which mean they will be subject to futures trading. The government is currently working on additional regulations for crypto exchanges. The exchanges such as Indodax are working with the government in that regard as we speak.


Crypto trading and payments are both legal in Singapore. The country doesn’t even place any major regulatory requirements. The government’s attitude is very relaxed when it comes to crypto regulation.

Crypto trading, however, is taxed in the country. The taxation is decided on the basis of gains made by the individual. But the businesses who buy crypto for the purposes of long-term are not taxed as there are no capital gains taxes in Singapore.

The tax regulators recognize Bitcoin as goods, not money. GST applies to the Bitcoin because of that. Payments made via Bitcoin are treated as barter exchanges and businesses are required by law to record the sale based on Open Market value at the time of selling.

The ICOs are treated as securities by Singapore’s Monetary Authority. They have some regulation when it comes to the money laundering, terror financing as there are certain substantive guidelines on these topics to the crypto exchanges.

In conclusion, the situation sounds similar to the East Asian one. However, there is no Chinese like blanket ban here. But Thailand’s requirements for ICO registration are a tough nut to crack. Indonesians are like South Koreans and in confusion. Singaporeans are like Japs who have devised ingenious ways to create market gains and also stop the abuses of the crypto assets.

Disclaimer: Koinalert’s content is only for information purpose in nature and should not be considered as investment advice. Do your own market research before investing in any cryptocurrencies. The author or publication does not hold any responsibility for your personal financial loss.

Shubham Dwivedi is an ardent crypto enthusiast, gamer, fanatic binge watcher, and researcher. He writes frequently on the blockchain, crypto market, and ICOs. Self-proclaimed Libertarian and fan of Milton Freidman, his interests lie in the intersection of technology, economics, and politics. DC Fan but also loves Marvel, Manga Otaku, promiscuous reader and habitual cinephile.