As Reuters reported yesterday, Thailand’s central bank governor, Veerathai Santiprabhob has requested all banks in Thailand to avoid cryptocurrency.
This Monday, the central bank released a circular that prevents Thailands’ banks from trading and investing in cryptocurrency. It also prevents them from creating and participating in platforms and exchanges for cryptocurrency trading. This circular applies only to banks, and not to other services or exchanges that are still allowed to operate in Thailand.
Further, the central bank asked the other banks not to support or advise customers on cryptocurrency trading and investment, and also to ban clients that use credit cards for cryptocurrency purchases. Several other large banks around the world have already instituted a similar ban on credit cards for purchasing cryptocurrency.
Regarding the explanation of this ban, the Bank of Thailand expressed concerns about digital currencies may be used for illegal activities like terrorist activities and money laundering.
Regulation, not banning
Apisak Tantivorawong, who is the country’s Finance Minister had claimed the government is not going to ban cryptocurrency trading, but it will work on creating a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, according to Bangkok Post. This circular can be treated as a warning to banks from staying away from cryptocurrency until this regulation can be implemented.
Also, in September 2017, Thailand’s SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) had announced it’s willingness to support ICO by putting into effect regulations that could protect investors from fraud.
Further, Thailand’s Ministry of Finance had stated at February 2 that Thailand’s central bank and the SEC should inform customers about the dangers of investing in cryptocurrency markets, but also that the Blockchain technology has the potential to help Thailand’s financial sector.
The Bank of Thailand had also held a meeting with Vitalik Buterin in August 2017, (who is the co-founder of Ethereum), in order to discuss the possibility of integrating Ethereum’s system into Thailand’s financial sector for improving the efficiency of the existing infrastructure.