Thailand has banned the use of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment for goods and services in the country, saying that their use could threaten financial stability and the national economy.
According to a notice published on the website of Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in cooperation with the Bank of Thailand (BOT), the use of cryptocurrencies as a payment method is “not encouraged” due to the risk it poses to the economy.
“Digital asset business operators must not provide services or act in a manner that encourages or promotes the payment of goods and services with digital assets, such as advertising, soliciting or presenting itself to be available to pay for goods or services to merchants,” an automatic translation of the notice said.
The new rules will come into force on April 1, the regulators said. They added that operators of digital asset-related companies, including crypto exchanges and other centralized service providers, will have until the end of April to comply with the rules.
In addition to framing digital assets as a threat to financial stability, the Thai SEC also expressed concern about potential losses as a result of price volatility, cyber theft, loss of personal information, and the use of crypto for money laundering.
The notice further said that if a provider of a digital asset service finds out that a customer uses its service to pay for goods or services, the provider must notify the customer that such use is a violation of the terms of service.
The next step the operator should take is to either temporarily suspend or terminate the user, the SEC’s notice added.
Still, the regulator noted that investing and trading in digital assets remains legal in the country. It also said that both the BOT and SEC “see the benefits of various technologies behind digital assets,” and that they “support the use of technology to further innovation.”
According to Bloomberg, the value of digital assets held by Thais rose to USD 3.4bn in January this year, up from just USD 286m to years earlier. At the same time, the number of accounts actively trading crypto in the country has risen from 170,000 before the pandemic to 1.98m as of January.
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