Thailand Bans Bitcoin, Crypto Payments But Markets Seemingly Unfazed
Thailand is banning the use of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment, citing national financial threat.
In a statement, Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reportedly said businesses including crypto exchanges must not provide crypto payment services. Such entities are further banned from promoting the use of digital assets as payments.
However the new regulation, which is effective 1 April 2022, will not affect trading or investments in digital assets. Additionally, existing companies will have until the end of April to comply with the rules.
On Wednesday, the central bank also proposed to cap commercial banks’ digital assets investment to 3% of their capital whilst advising them against making such investments.
Nonetheless, the SEC also said in its statement that authorities “see the benefits of various technologies behind digital assets such as blockchain”.
The Bank of Thailand is also planning a pilot project for its planned retail digital currency in Q4 after central bank governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput said CBDCs are more effective in achieving financial inclusion.
News of Thailand’s ban failed to impact the overall crypto market, which traded in line with the stock market.
Although Thailand is Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, its digital asset footprint is small compared to its regional rivals and the wider world. Thailand ranked 14th among countries by the number of crypto users that call it home. The value of digital assets held by Thais was 114.5 billion baht (US$3.4 billion) as of January.