In a joint press release by the Ministry of Finance (MOF), Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Bank of Thailand (BOT), the three entities stated that it is necessary to regulate Bitcoin and digital assets in order to “avert potential impacts on the country’s financial stability and economic system.”
According to the statement, Thailand has seen an increase in “digital asset business operators” that buy and sell cryptocurrencies as well as provide payment solutions for merchants. As a result, the three firms want to take action in order to ensure an orderly integration of cryptocurrencies into the Thai financial system.
While recognizing that Bitcoin and other digital assets may be used as an investment, the statement also highlighted the potential dangers when using them for payment. They state in the release, “The use of digital assets in this manner could also pose further risks to consumers and businesses through price volatility, cyber theft, personal data leakage, or money laundering, etc.”
The firms further emphasize the need “to limit the widespread adoption of digital assets as a means of payment for goods and services.” in order to protect the merchants, consumers, and economy. A slow implementation and vetting process is likely to occur in order to identify which digital assets are “safe” for the people of Thailand.
Governor of the BOT Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput also recognizes the need to adopt Bitcoin and other digital assets. He states, “technologies and digital assets that do not pose such risks should be supported with appropriate regulatory frameworks to drive innovation and further benefit for the public.”
Secretary-General of the SEC Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol shares a similar sentiment with the Governor by stating, “the SEC, as the regulator for digital asset business operators, has a policy to promote the development of digital asset businesses alongside consumer protection and places emphasis on utilizing digital assets to develop the country’s economy and society.”
The Thai SEC is also seeking public comments on proposed rules that do not allow digital asset companies to provide payment services for merchants and other businesses. Other countries have attempted to ban and regulate bitcoin use in the past with little success. This is due to the decentralized nature of Bitcoin. Governments are only able to regulate centralized businesses and exchanges but are less successful in controlling peer-to-peer transactions. If citizens are unable to obtain bitcoin from centralized exchanges within Thailand, they would still be able to receive bitcoin peer-to-peer from within or outside the country.