Thailand bans bitcoin, other crypto payments

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Regulators seek to tamp down risk of cybertheft and money laundering

Thailand Bans Crypto as Means of Payment.
The Thai SEC stressed it is only banning the use of crypto for payments and is not banning crypto trading and digital assets.

BANGKOK — Thailand on Wednesday issued a ban against payments using cryptocurrencies and other digital assets that will go into effect next month in a bid to maintain stability in financial markets.

The move by the Securities and Exchange Commission will apply to all cryptocurrency, including bitcoin. Consumers will no longer be allowed to purchase goods or services with the digital currencies.

Digital assets payment operators will be given a grace period through the end of April-2022 to halt services. Trading of the assets for investment purposes will be allowed to continue.

The SEC said it decided to regulate and control the use of digital assets after discussing the “risks and benefits” with the Bank of Thailand, the central bank, according to a statement Wednesday. The risks cited include losses from price volatility, cybertheft and money laundering.

Digital assets are a big draw in Thailand and their use as payments is becoming widespread. The Mall Group, a major retailing company, started installing digital asset payment devices at its shopping centers last December 2021.

A real estate company under Charoen Pokphand Group, the conglomerate known as the CP group, sells houses that can be bought with digital assets.

In Thailand, 31% of people own digital assets, according to a survey by German market intelligence company Statista. The share is the second largest among 56 countries after Nigeria.