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JFin ICO presale begins on high note

More than 88 million tokens sold on first day

The JFin coin presale is conducted entirely through online transactions. (Photo by Oranan Paweewun)

Despite the lack of a regulatory framework and high investment risk, J Ventures' JFin coins flew off the shelves Wednesday during their presale debut as investors flocked to purchase over 88 million digital tokens in the hope of reaping higher future returns.

Some 81% of 100 million digital tokens were sold by Wednesday afternoon at a price of 6.60 baht per token, J Ventures said in a release.

J Ventures is a subsidiary of SET-listed Jay Mart Plc, which operates in the wholesale and retail sector for mobile phones and technology accessories.

J Ventures has created 300 million digital tokens, with 100 million JFin coins to be offered in the first phase.

The presale period will run until Feb 28, with the official initial coin offering (ICO) scheduled from March 1 until March 31.

The process of purchasing JFin coins features several procedures, whereby investors first have to register an e-wallet account with the Thai Digital Asset Exchange (TDAX), then verify their identity through a QR code via a mobile phone app called Authenticator.

Once the procedures are complete, investors have to take a selfie displaying their ID card and the date they uploaded their photos to tdax.com. The final process requires investors to upload their bank account details to that website.

During the presale, investors can buy JFin coins by money transfer into a TDAX bank account. Once the digital tokens begin trading on the secondary market in April, cryptocurrencies can be used to buy them. TDAX does not automatically debit money from investors' bank accounts.

A high-net-worth investor who requested anonymity said he subscribed to invest in JFin coins.

His main reason for investing is to achieve high returns and speculate on the value of JFin coins, the investor said.

"I know what I am investing in," he said. "Many people have experienced both success and failure when investing in ICOs. An ICO is an alternative investment choice and the trend is expected to rise if we trust ICO issuers."

Investors are able to make money transfers via banks to purchase JFin coins because banks are involved with this ICO, said a source at a commercial bank.

Adisak Sukumvitaya, chief executive of SET-listed Jay Mart Plc, said JFin coins are the beginning of Jay Mart's mission to revolutionise Thailand's fintech industry.

"87 million, or 87%, [sold] out of the total 100 million coins is a good response from the public, despite how cryptocurrency is a very new issue for the [domestic] market amid uncertainty surrounding the regulatory framework," Mr Adisak said as Wednesday's session went on. "We [Jay Mart] have passed the first chapter of this challenge."

Mr Adisak said the remaining 13 million JFin coins should sell out this week, meaning that the amount of coins might not be enough for next month's official sale.

The success of an ICO depends on a company's business model and the coin issuer, he said.

JFin coins are the first ICO issued by an SET-listed company with the purpose of developing decentralised digital lending through the blockchain technology, which is highly secured, transparent, and full of efficiency, said J Ventures chief executive Thanawat Lertwattanarak.

JFin coins are expected to be sold on secondary markets via TDAX on April 2, Mr Thanawat said.

ICO transactions are similar to crowdfunding, whereby the issuer presents a business model to investors, but the key differences are that the raised funds are in the form of digital currencies using blockchain technology and the deals are enforced using smart contracts.

The final round of public hearings on the ICO regulatory framework, drafted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), was completed on Jan 22 after being extended twice.

Most market participants have agreed with the SEC to regulate ICOs through an "investment participation" tract.

Pathom Sangwongwanich and Darana Chudasri

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