The Bank of Thailand (BoT) has reminded that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in the country and warned of the introduction of regulatory measures in case of their massive proliferation.
According to the press release, payments in digital assets constitute a "barter trade" where the parties to the transaction assume all risks. The BoT includes volatility, cybercrime and money laundering among the latter.
The regulator also noted that some digital assets are investment instruments whose holders should be aware of the risks associated with their ownership. The central bank stressed that it does not support the use of cryptocurrencies to pay for goods and services, a view that "coincides with the position of international organisations and regulators".
According to the BoT, some local merchants and businesses are offering customers this option. If the practice becomes widespread, the central bank will "coordinate with the [Thai] Securities and Exchange Commission and other relevant agencies" to ensure the public is protected.
The BoT recognised the importance of financial innovation and recalled that the regulator is developing CBDC and forming guidelines for stablcoins, including those backed by fiat.
In Q2 2021, Thailand planned to launch CBDC testing for retail transactions. The tool will be fully implemented over the next three to five years.
In May, local media reported on the authorities' intention to tighten registration requirements for bitcoin exchanges. In particular, they may be forced to scan the chips embedded in citizens' identification cards when opening new accounts.
In June, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand announced possible regulation of the decentralised finance sector. In the same month, the agency banned local trading platforms from offering meme-cryptocurrencies, fan-tokens and NFTs.
Recall, in July, the regulator accused bitcoin exchange Binance of operating without a licence. The commission filed a violation report with the economic crime unit of the national police.