Thailand Central Bank Bans Bitcoin (July 30, 2013)
July 30, 2013
Thailand’s central bank has effectively banned Bitcoin in the country by declaring it illegal to buy, sell or make purchases with the virtual currency, according to a Bitcoin exchange that had been seeking guidance from the bank.
In a message on the Website of Bitcoin Co. Ltd., the Bangkok-based exchange said it was told in a meeting with staffers from the Bank of Thailand earlier this week that Bitcoin-related activity was banned due to the lack of a legal framework or capital controls for the currency. “Based on such a broad and encompassing advisement, 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 message said. “The Bank of Thailand has said they will further consider the issue, but did not give any specific timeline.” The exchange said it had been seeking a money exchange license from the bank, but had been turned down previously on the grounds that bitcoins were not considered currency.
The rapid rise of virtual currency, such as Bitcoin and Amazon Coins could become a major battleground in what many observers see as a coming clash between financial technology and regulation. The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in March issued guidance on virtual currency, categorizing administrators and exchangers of virtual currencies as money services businesses and thus subject to certain registration, reporting and recordkeeping regulations.