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Bitcoin tries to become a legal currency in Thailand, gets outlawed instead

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Bitcoin from Shutterstock
Bitcoin from Shutterstock

Internet-only currency Bitcoin has just suffered a setback on its up-and-down journey to wider acceptance — the currency has just been banned by the Thailand government. That means that as of now, Bitcoins are not able to be sold, purchased, or used as currency in any purchase, nor can they be transferred in or out of the country. According to The Telegraph, that makes Thailand the first country to ban the currency outright. Somewhat ironically, this ban came as a result of local exchange Bitcoin Co. Ltd was working to legitimize the currency in Thailand. Previously, the country had ruled that Bitcoin was not a currency, which caused Bitcoin Co. Ltd to reach out to the government in an attempt to lawfully register and operate. As part of that due dilligence, the group working to legitimize Bitcoin had reached out to the Bank of Thailand for guidance and to acquire the proper licenses.

From there, the Bank of Thailand invited the Bitcoin team to a conference to further educate them on how the currency worked and what the benefits of Bitcoin are — after which the bank's foreign exchange administration and policy department voted to shut Thailand's Bitcoin exchange down. They say it was due to a lack of existing laws and capital controls to adequately account for Bitcoin — a currency that "straddles multiple financial facets." While the government left open the possibility of Bitcoin operating in Thailand once adequate laws were in place, the team behind the Bitcoin Co. Ltd exchange didn't make it sound like too likely — the bank refused to give any timeline for when a future review might take place. We've reached out to the Bitcoin foundation for more info on this development and will update with any new information we receive.