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Thailand woos investment token issuers while South Korea cracks down on crypto scams

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(Kitco News) - The government of Thailand is looking to promote the growth of its digital asset industry by approving tax waivers for crypto companies that issue investment tokens in the country.

A report from Reuters indicates that Thailand Finance minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith announced the new tax break on Tuesday, which was approved by Thailand’s cabinet. Following its approval, the corporate income tax and value-added tax for companies that issue digital tokens for investment will be waived.

The popularity of cryptocurrencies has risen in recent years after the country's Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) began regulating digital assets. The government currently estimates that there will be 128 billion baht ($3.71 billion) worth of investment token offerings over the next two years, which means the new tax break will result in a loss of 35 billion baht in tax revenue.

To offset this loss of revenue, the government is hoping that the move helps to attract a range of companies to set up shop in Thailand and build out their crypto ecosystems. Aside from investment tokens, companies can also raise capital through traditional methods like debentures, according to deputy government spokesperson Rachada Dhnadirek.

Last year, Thailand relaxed its tax rules for crypto trading in an effort to promote the development of the industry in the country. But not all regulating bodies in the government are as keen on crypto, including the country’s central bank and the SEC, which instituted a ban on the use of digital assets as a means of payment in March 2022, citing the danger doing so could have on the country’s financial stability and the overall economy.

South Korea to establish a scam-busting taskforce

In an effort to reduce the amount of money citizens lose to crypto scams, police in South Korea have announced that they will launch a new crypto scam-busting cybercrime taskforce.

According to a report from KBS, the new cybercrime unit will focus on three main tasks – policing the dark web, mitigating virtual asset crimes, and preventing Titus (DDoS) attacks. Each task will have its own subcommittee, but it's likely that the dark web subcommittee will also contribute to investigating crypto-related matters.

The National Police Agency (NPA) has made a concerted effort in recent times to crack down on drug dealers who advertise on dark web portals and use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to facilitate drug sales. To help with the new subcommittees, the NPA has recruited “professional investigators and experts from private-sector IT companies” to join the task force.

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This move by South Korean law enforcement comes amid a rise in crypto-related fraud in the country, including several recent high-profile scams that have affected the public.

Included on this list are V Global, a realistic-looking crypto exchange that stole $2.3 billion from 50,000 South Koreans with Ponzi-type multi-layered marketing tactics; QRC Bank, a fake crypto bank that pilfered $181 million from its unsuspecting investors; and a host of other smaller-scale voice phishing, fake crypto mining platforms, and dating app scams that have targeted individual citizens.

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