Bank of Thailand (BOT) officials say the use of cryptocurrency as a means of payment is not illegal. However, they emphasize that users must “be able to take risks,” including price fluctuations.
Sakkapop Panyanukul, senior director of monetary policy at BOT, clarified the central bank’s stance on cryptocurrencies this week.
BOT is currently in discussions with the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), relevant authorities and various other stakeholders on how to regulate cryptocurrencies, he said. The bank’s goal is to limit the risks for users associated with the use of cryptocurrencies for payments.
Noting that some people have used cryptocurrency to pay for goods and services in Thailand, Paninukul emphasized:
“It’s not illegal … but the user must take the risk.”
The Central Bank of Thailand has previously stated that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in the country and that their use as a medium of exchange constitutes an “exchange of goods between holders of digital assets” and suppliers of goods or services, where the payer and recipient jointly assume all associated risks … If other currencies are widely used, this will affect the central bank’s ability to control the economy. ”
According to another senior director of BOT, Chayawadi Chayanant, many central banks around the world share the same concerns about the risk of cryptocurrencies causing financial instability. She stated:
“BOT is not currently banned, but are concerned about the use of digital assets to pay for goods and services due to their volatility.”
Meanwhile, Thailand’s central bank announced on Tuesday that it is preventing commercial banks from directly participating in cryptocurrency trading due to the risks associated with high price fluctuations. Chayanant said at a press conference:
“We do not want banks to be directly involved in digital asset trading, because banks (are responsible) for the deposits of customers, the public, and there is always a risk.”
However, she states: “It’s another matter if the company is a shareholder.” Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), one of Thailand’s largest banks, announced last month that it will buy 51% of the cryptocurrency exchange.
Digital currency is gradually becoming a popular means of paying for goods and services in Thailand. Bitcoin Magazine reported that Thailand’s central bank issued a warning in July about the use of digital assets as a means of payment. In October, the Prime Minister also warned investors against investing in cryptocurrencies as they are volatile and highly speculative.
In November, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) announced that it is working with the SEC and the central bank to make it easier and more convenient for travelers to use cryptocurrency in the country.
“Cryptocurrency is the future, so we need to make Thailand a crypto-active society to welcome this tourist group,” Governor TAT said.