Bank of Thailand considers Bitcoin illegal: trading is now suspended in the country

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The Thai cryptocurrency exchange Bitcoin Co. Ltd. has announced this Monday (29) that the Bank of Thailand has considered illegal all the Bitcoin-related activities. As a consequence, the company had to temporarily shut down all their operations until the laws in Thailand are updated.

According to the platform – which has been trying to properly register the exchange with the various national government agencies and authorities for the past several months -, the institution is not making their job easy. Included in this diligence was the necessary authorization given by the Bank of Thailand, where Bitcoin Co. Ltd. was supposed to seek “guidance as to any applicable licenses in buying and selling Bitcoins”.

In an initial stage, “the Bank of Thailand had bypassed the company’s money exchange license on the basis that Bitcoin was not a currency”. But the exchange was invited back to participate in a conference to explain how Bitcoin works in general and talk, specifically, about the business operations of Bitcoin Co. Ltd.

In a public statement published on their website, the company tells that this meeting was held with about 15 members of the Bank of Thailand. “During this conference, the directors of Bitcoin Co. Ltd. gave a presentation about the workings of Bitcoin, the benefits of Bitcoin, incite into the company’s operations and future implications of Bitcoin”, trying to educate the bank members.

Though, their arguments didn’t pleased the bank members. “At the conclusion of the meeting, the senior members of the Foreign Exchange Administration and Policy Department advised that due to lack of existing applicable laws, capital controls and the fact that Bitcoin straddles multiple financial facets the following Bitcoin activities are illegal in Thailand: buying Bitcoins, selling Bitcoins, buying any goods or services in exchange for Bitcoins, selling any goods or services for Bitcoins, sending Bitcoins to anyone located outside of Thailand and receiving Bitcoins from anyone located outside of Thailand”.

After this decision, “Bitcoin Co. Ltd. therefore has no choice but to suspend operations until such as time that the laws in Thailand are updated to account for the existence of Bitcoin”. The exchange also explained that the Bank of Thailand “has said they will further consider the issue, but did not give any specific timeline”, so until then Bitcoin is illegal in the country.

UPDATE (July 30, 08:52 am) – Bitcoin Examiner tried to contact the Bank of Thailand via their website, but every time we try to submit an enquiry there’s an error. We tried to get another email address, but the website doesn’t show any.

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Maria Santos

Maria is an experienced journalist currently living in the UK. She has been writing about Bitcoin and the altcoin universe since 2013. She is also a member of the Lifeboat Foundation's New Money Systems Board and a big cryptocurrency supporter.

3 Comments

  1. A bit of pro bono due diligence:

    ?????? ???????? ????? (Bitcoin Co., Ltd.) is a legally registered business entity here in Thailand. It was registered on 10 June 2013 with 1 million baht of registered capital and has 3 shareholders, all Thai nationals.