Bank of Thailand allegedly declares bitcoin illegal, Thai exchange suspends trading

Did the Bank of Thailand really just make bitcoin illegal? If so, at least some exchanges are still trading.

AccessTimeIconJul 29, 2013 at 9:37 p.m. UTC
Updated Dec 10, 2022 at 9:16 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

A Thai bitcoin exchange has suspended trading alleging that the Bank of Thailand has declared the cryptocurrency illegal, throwing the community into heated debate.

Bitcoin Co Ltd, a Thai exchange, posted a note on its websitehttps://bitcoin.co.th/trading-suspended-due-to-bank-of-thailand-advisement/ saying that the Bank of Thailand held a conference earlier today to discuss the exchange's business operations.

"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," says the post. It outlined the purchase or sale of bitcoins themselves as illegal, alongside the buying and selling of goods or services in exchange for bitcoins. Sending or receiving bitcoins to or from anyone outside Thailand would also be illegal.

"Based on such a broad and encompassing advisement, Bitcoin Co. Ltd. therefore has no choice but to suspend operations until such as time that the laws in Thailand are updated to account for the existance of Bitcoin," the exchange said.

Debate heated up on the online forums, with some agreeing with the statement, and some arguing that senior officials at a bank agreeing on something doesn't make it law.

"Bitcoin was not ruled illegal in Thailand. There is poor reporting and interpretation going on. The Bank of Thailand has no legal power," said one commenter.

"When a senior official at a central bank tells you point-blank, 'buying or selling bitcoins is illegal', unless you have a seriously large legal fund and willing to fight all the way to the constitutional courts if necessary, you take it seriously," said another. "They made no comment about these laws (or lack of laws) being enforced; so I would assume the blackmarket will still operate business-as-usual"

What is known is that the Bank of Thailand, a non-government agency under the Bank of Thailand Act, acts as a regulator for various aspects of the Thai financial industry.

Bitcoin Co is not the only bitcoin exchange in Thailand. Bahtcoin was still trading as of 5:10 EST today, and so was Coinmill, which trades in Thai Offshore Baht.

The Bank of Thailand's New York office refused to comment on the issue when contacted today.

Disclosure

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.


Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.