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According to Reuters, the governor of the Central Bank of Thailand, Veerathai Santiprabhob, has banned all banks in the country to avoid cryptocurrencies. A circular issued just a day ago forbids banks from investing, trading and or participating in and creating exchanges and platforms for dealing in cryptocurrencies. The circular applies to banks not existing exchanges however which are still allowed to operate in Thailand.
Along with other banks globally, Thailand banks are to ban customers from using credit cards to purchase cryptocurrencies and are not to advise customer so crypto investment Veerathai Santiprabhob cites concern over cryptocurrencies being used for illegal activities in Thailand such as money laundering or terrorist activities, and noted that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in the country.
In February the Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong stated that the Thai government will not ban crypto trading, but instead will construct a regulatory framework for digital currencies.
Recently the SEC secretary-general Rapee Sucharitakul said the SEC does not have the ability to block crypto transactions as they are traded through online platforms, preferring to educate investors in order to protect them from ICO scams and, interestingly, the Central Bank of Thailand had previously held a meeting with Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin last year about the future possibility of integrating Ethereum into the Thai financial sector to improve the efficiency of already existing infrastructure so the Central Bank is not totally adverse to cryptocurrencies if there is an advantage to the bank in using them.
Further, Ms. Prasanee Auiyamaphan, a Bangkok Bank Executive Assistant, was quoted by Voice TV saying that the bank has “no policy to provide [crypto] exchange services,” emphasizing that cryptocurrencies cannot be exchanged for cash at her bank. And Mr. Thana Thienachariya, Senior Executive VP and Chief Marketing Officer at Siam Commercial Bank said that its subsidiary, Digital Ventures Co. Ltd., has previously formed a strategic alliance with Ripple to offer a payment service between Japan and Thailand. He added that his bank will be discussing this issue with the central bank.
Mr. Thakorn Piyapan, Head of Krungsri Consumer Group and an executive of Digital Banking and Innovation at Bank of Ayudhya stated, “although the bank will use the transfer service across the country through Ripple,” it is cooperating with the BOT and “does not provide any [cryptocurrency] services at all.” He explained “that there are some areas that banks need to examine before being able to comply. For example, to prevent customers from buying cryptocurrencies using credit cards.”
There is currently one Bitcoin ATM in Thailand in Cube No. 7 Coffee and Eatery in Chiang Mai and more are expected to be opened this year. This article is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as financial information for any purposes such as investment or speculation and it is the responsibility of the reader to perform proper due diligence before acting upon any of the information provided. We recommend that you consult with a licensed, qualified investment advisor before making any investment decisions.