BANGKOK – Trading the virtual currency bitcoin is now considered illegal by the Bank of Thailand. That’s according to a blog post by Bitcoin Co. Ltd, which said the central bank’s ruling came after a meeting between the two entities.
Bitcoin Co. Ltd., which allows users to buy, sell and exchange the virtual currency, said the Bank of Thailand on Monday ruled bitcoin
activities illegal in Thailand due to the lack of existing regulations. That includes buying or selling bitcoins, buying or selling goods in exchange for bitcoins, and sending or receiving bitcoins to people in other countries. In response, Bitcoin Co. Ltd has suspended its Thai operations until laws are updated, adding that the Bank of Thailand said it would reconsider the issue.
The Bank of Thailand’s New York office did not respond immediately to a request for comment. The central bank has no press release regarding its bitcoin action on its website.
Bitcoins aren’t issued by a central bank. Instead, bitcoins are created when computers solve complex cryptographic problems. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be regulated. In March, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued guidance on how existing regulations apply to companies that deal with virtual currencies. Read a bitcoin primer here: Bitcoin prices lose a bit of their wild side
Some of the Thai central bank’s responsibilities include creating policies to supervise financial institutions and payment systems, as well as conducting monetary and foreign-exchange policies.
Bitcoin Co. Ltd. said the Bank of Thailand’s decision came as the company was seeking guidance on regulations and licences needed to operate in Thailand. In a presentation Monday, Bitcoin Co. Ltd. employees explained to several bank members how the virtual currency works and how the company operates.
From Bitcoin Co. Ltd’s press release:
At the conclusion of the meeting senior members of the Foreign Exchange Administration and Policy Department advised that due to lack of existing applicable laws, capital controls and the fact that Bitcoin straddles multiple financial facets the following Bitcoin activities are illegal in Thailand:
- Buying Bitcoins
- Selling Bitcoins
- Buying any goods or services in exchange for Bitcoins
- Selling any goods or services for Bitcoins
- Sending Bitcoins to anyone located outside of Thailand
- Receiving Bitcoins from anyone located outside of Thailand
The ruling was reported earlier by bitcoinexaminer.org.