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The Bank of Thailand said it does not want commercial banks to be directly involved in cryptoasset trading.
The decree was issued on December 7 by the senior director of the central bank, Chayawadi Chay-Anant, who cited risks associated with high price volatility.
“We do not want banks to be directly involved in digital asset trading because banks are responsible for customer and public deposits and there is a risk.”
According to a report by the Bangkok Post, the latest round of the central bank’s ban on digital assets came at a time when commercial banks were investing in local cryptocurrency exchanges.
In early November, Thailand’s oldest bank, Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), announced the acquisition of a 51% stake in the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Bitkub. In late August, the Zipmex crypto exchange raised $ 1.3 billion in funding from the country’s fifth largest lender, Bank of Ayudhya.
The Bank of Thailand (BoT) is taking an increasingly tough stance on digital assets despite their growing popularity in the country among individuals, companies and banks.
Last week, BoT’s senior director, Sakkapop Panyanukul, warned businesses against cryptocurrency adoption, saying, “The widespread use of other currencies will affect the central bank’s ability to control the economy.” Referring to non-asset backed tokens, he called them “blank coins.”
The central bank has also expressed concern over the use of cryptocurrencies to pay for goods and services. In a related report dated December 8, Chai-Anant commented that digital assets can harm merchants and consumers as they “are associated with high price volatility and risks of cyber theft, identity leakage and money laundering.”
“If digital assets become widely used as a means of paying for goods and services, such risks could affect the stability of the payment system, financial stability and consumer protection.”
BoT’s warnings come just two weeks after the Kingdom’s Tourism Ministry stepped up its efforts to encourage crypto whales to visit the country. Thailand’s Tourism Authority has declared the country “crypto-friendly,” but it’s clear that central bankers don’t want it to be too friendly.
Thailand’s economy is heavily dependent on the tourism industry, which has been hit hard during the pandemic. Much of the Kingdom remains locked up and very little has arrived at the time of writing, despite attempts to lure crypto nomads and the like into a country where the central bank does not want them to use digital currencies.
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