Thailand’s top regulatory body has announced a ban on Bitcoin and other cryptos in the country.
The policy restricts companies from accepting digital assets as a payment method for goods and services.
However, the Thai SEC stressed that trading and crypto investments remain legal.
Cryptocurrencies will no longer serve as an acceptable means of payment in Thailand according to a statement issued by the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Wednesday.
Thailand’s SEC opined that digital assets pose a significant stability risk to the country’s traditional financial system. Furthermore, the report said that virtual currencies put investors and businesses in danger due to high volatility and manipulation in the crypto market.
Finally, Thailand’s watchdog cited concerns regarding personal data leaks, cyber theft, and the broad-based use of cryptocurrency in money laundering operations.
The new payment rule restricts both domestic and foreign digital asset exchanges from offering virtual currency payment facilities. Although the announcement states that implementation of the ban starts on April 1, 2022, fintech companies and other businesses in the country have until the end of April to adjust to the new policy.
While new regulations prohibit using cryptos as a payment method, trading virtual assets and investing in digital currencies remain an option for institutions and private individuals.
Thailand’s Regulations for Booming Digital Economy
Crypto proponents have surmised that the decision from the SEC is in direct contrast with Thailand’s recently introduced tax legislation. The government announced new policies providing investors with a VAT exemption and an option to offset yearly losses against gains.
The ban also comes a few months after Thailand’s apex bank revealed plans to propose a standard framework geared towards regulating the growing crypto industry in the country. Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput, the central bank governor, said that “Cryptocurrencies Cannot Be a Means of Payment” in an interview back in December 2021.
Thailand has emerged as a hub for innovation in Southeast Asia and has recently experienced a significant increase in crypto adoption. According to a recent Bloomberg report, local wallets hold over $3 billion in cryptos like Bitcoin and Ethereum.