Sakkapop Panyanukul, senior director at the Bank of Thailand (BOT)’s Monetary Policy Department, clarified the central bank’s cryptocurrency stance this week.
He explained that the Bank of Thailand is currently discussing how to regulate cryptocurrency with the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), related agencies, and stakeholders. The bank aims to limit consumer risks associated with using cryptocurrency for payments.
Noting that some people are already using crypto to pay for goods and services in Thailand, the director emphasized:
It’s not illegal … but [users] must be able to accept the risks.
The Thai central bank previously said that cryptocurrency is not legal tender in the country and using it as a medium of exchange “constitutes barter trade between the owner of the digital asset and the provider of goods and services, where the payer and the receiver mutually accept all risks involved.”
The director proceeded to say that “If other currencies are widely used, it will impact the central bank’s ability to oversee the economy.”
Another senior director of the Bank of Thailand, Chayawadee Chai-anant, explained that many central banks worldwide share the same concern of crypto risking financial stability. While voicing concerns regarding financial stability, she clarified:
Currently, the Bank of Thailand does not prohibit but is worried about the use of digital assets for payments of goods and services due to their price fluctuation.
Meanwhile, the Thai central bank said Tuesday that it discourages commercial banks being directly involved in trading crypto assets due to the risks stemming from high price volatility. Chai-anant told a news conference:
We don’t want banks to be directly involved in digital asset trading because banks are (responsible) for customer deposits and the public and there is risk.
However, she noted that “If a company is a shareholder, that is another issue.” Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), one of the largest banks in Thailand, announced last month that it is acquiring a 51% stake in a cryptocurrency exchange.
Cryptocurrency has been gaining popularity as a way to pay for goods and services in Thailand. In July, the Thai central bank issued a warning notice regarding the use of digital assets as a means of payment. In October, the country’s prime minister cautioned investors about investing in cryptocurrencies, stating that they are volatile and highly speculative.
In November, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) revealed that it is working with the SEC and the central bank to make it easier and more convenient for visitors to spend cryptocurrencies in the country. “Crypto is the future, so we must make Thailand a crypto-positive society to welcome this group of quality tourists,” said the TAT governor.