The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) yesterday said it would take a cautious approach toward implementation of securities token offerings (STOs), as it plans to introduce new laws by June to address the growing popularity of virtual currencies.
Interested parties might be allowed to raise up to NT$30 million (US$973,489) through STOs, but blockchain-based tokens would not be allowed as equities, the commission said.
A securities token is a kind of virtual currency. Unlike bitcoin, which has no central issuer and can only be released through a process called “mining,” securities tokens are launched by companies aiming to raise funds.
“The securities tokens are issued in foreign countries as digital assets based on blockchain technology,” Securities and Futures Bureau Deputy Director-General Tsai Li-ling (蔡麗玲) told the Taipei Times by telephone.
“So far, holders of securities tokens enjoy certain ownership in the issuing companies and can receive dividends as if they are investing in stocks,” Tsai said.
“They can also receive interest payments from the sale of securities tokens as with corporate bonds,” she said.
As securities tokens possess securities-like attributes, their issuance would be subject to traditional securities regulations, she said.
However, the commission initially would only permit securities tokens to offer interest payments as bonds and would require the issuers to clearly state how many they plan to distribute, Tsai said.
The commission would prohibit companies from offering equities-like tokens, as such practice is more strictly regulated by the Company Act (公司法), she said.
“The offering of equities-like tokens are possible, but we prefer a step-by-step approach to see how STOs do first,” Tsai said.
The commission’s threshold of NT$30 million for fundraising followed discussions with several parties interested in STOs, Tsai said, adding that the amount should be enough for start-ups, or small or medium-sized enterprises.
Unlike an initial public offering, STOs would be exempted from some administrative requirements and could proceed much faster, Tsai said.
As for companies that intend to raise more than NT$30 million through an STO, they would have to run experiments in a regulatory sandbox so the commission could carefully monitor the risks, Tsai said, adding that sandbox investments would be limited to NT$200 million.
“So far, more than one company has expressed interest in running a sandbox experiment to provide virtual-currency services, but not everyone plans to launch an STO, a new investment tool that began to emerge in the second half of last year,” Department of Planning Director-General Lin Chih-chi (林志吉) said.
Maicoin (現代財富科技), a local platform for virtual currencies, has expressed an interest in an STO, Lin said.
The commission would counsel the firm before accepting its formal application, he said.
The commission would establish an independent platform for the trade of security tokens that is different from the Taiwan Stock Exchange or the Taipei Exchange, it said.
The commission said that plans to issue special licenses to companies operating virtual currencies, which would require special software to accept sell and buy orders.
However, the commission still has many issues to resolve, such as whether tokens should be standardized, or if tokens should be secured by collateral.
“We have outlined our strategy, but there is more to be discussed,” Tsai said, adding that the commission has invited private-sector parties to a forum next week to discuss the proposed regulations in detail.
Luxury hotel Mandarin Oriental Taipei (文華東方酒店) plans to reopen its guestrooms in December to take advantage of a boom in domestic travel. The reopening would come six months after the five-star facility suspended room operations to cut costs as countries across the region impose border controls to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, diminishing demand for business travel. “We are delighted to share that Mandarin Oriental Taipei will resume room operations on December 1,” the hotel said in a statement yesterday. The hotel in Songshan District (松山) said it would adopt stringent health and safety practices to ensure the well-being of its guests and employees. It
HSBC Bank (Taiwan) Ltd (匯豐台灣商銀) has approved two sustainability-linked loans totaling NT$450 million (US$15.55 million) for Taya Group (大亞集團) and Sinbon Electronics Co (信邦電子), the bank said yesterday, adding that interest rates would fall if the borrowers’ sustainability performance improves. Those marked the first sustainability-linked loans granted by HSBC Taiwan, it said. While HSBC Taiwan has experience providing green loans for the nation’s developers of renewable energy sources to support their projects, the bank began focusing on sustainability-linked loans to meet rising demand from companies in other sectors planning to undertake sustainability programs, it said. “As we reward our clients who reach their
‘NEW TRAVEL MARKET’: The carrier initially planned to lay off about 8,000 people globally, but after government intervention reduced that to 18 percent of its workforce Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd (國泰航空) would cut 6,000 jobs and close its Cathay Dragon brand, the South China Morning Post reported, as part of a strategic review to combat the unprecedented damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Hong Kong-based airline is expected to officially announce the plan after the market close today, the newspaper said. It initially planned about 8,000 layoffs globally, but after government intervention reduced that to 18 percent of its total workforce, including about 5,000 jobs in Hong Kong, it said. The company, which posted a HK$9.9 billion (US$1.3 billion) loss in the first half, has for months
LEANNESS-ENHANCING DRUG: Assigning a commodity classification to meat containing ractopamine could come under scrutiny by the WTO, the economic affairs minister said Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) yesterday rejected opposition lawmakers’ calls to assign a product code for US pork and beef containing ractopamine. Facing a barrage of questions from lawmakers at a meeting of the legislature’s Economics Committee, Wang said that giving meat containing residues of ractopamine a commodity classification code would sow confusion and could come under scrutiny by the WTO. “Ractopamine is not a [meat] product, it is an additive,” said Wang, when questioned by Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Legislator Chiu Chen-yuan (邱臣遠). “If we had a serial code for every additive it would cause confusion. There is