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Sakkapop Panyanukul, senior director of the Bank of Thailand (BOT) Monetary Policy Department, clarified the central bank’s position on cryptocurrencies this week.
He explained that the Bank of Thailand is currently discussing ways to regulate cryptocurrencies with the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), relevant agencies and stakeholders. The bank seeks to limit consumer risks associated with the use of cryptocurrency for payments.
Noting that some people are already using cryptocurrency to pay for goods and services in Thailand, the director emphasized:
“It’s not illegal … but users need to be able to accept the risks.”
The central bank of Thailand has previously stated that cryptocurrency is not legal tender in the country, and its use as an alternative for exchange is a barter trade between the owner of the digital asset and the provider of goods and services, where the payer and recipient mutually accept all risks.
The director went on to say that if other digital currencies are widely used, it will affect the central bank’s ability to oversee the economy.
Another senior director of the Bank of Thailand, Chayawadi Chai-anant, explained that many central banks around the world share the same concern that cryptocurrencies are at risk of financial stability. Expressing concerns about financial stability, she explained:
“Currently, the Bank of Thailand does not prohibit, but worries about the use of cryptocurrencies to pay for goods and services due to fluctuations in their prices.”
Meanwhile, Thailand’s central bank said on Tuesday that it does not recommend commercial banks to directly engage in cryptoasset trading due to the risks associated with high price volatility. Chai Anant said at a press conference:
“We do not want banks to be directly involved in digital asset trading, because they are responsible for the deposits of customers and the public, and this is fraught with risk.”
However, she noted: “If the company is a shareholder, that’s a different matter.” Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), one of Thailand’s largest banks, announced last month that it has acquired 51% of the cryptocurrency exchange.
Cryptocurrency is gaining popularity as a way to pay for goods and services in Thailand. In July, the Central Bank of Thailand issued a warning about the use of digital assets as legal tender. In October, the country’s prime minister warned investors against investing in digital assets, saying they were volatile and highly speculative.
In November, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) announced that it is partnering with the Securities Exchange Commission and the central bank to make it easier and more convenient for visitors to spend virtual money in the country.
“Cryptocurrencies are the future, so we must make Thailand a crypto-positive society,” said the TAT governor.
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