Thailand bans crypto payments

In a surprise move, the Thai SEC banned the use of crypto payments on March 24th, 2022. Therefore, from April 1st, it is not allowed anymore to pay for services or goods with crypto. However, providers have until the end of April to follow the new law.

This comes as a surprise because Thai lawmakers have been easygoing on other recent crypto-related laws.

Thailand SEC Bans Crypto Payments for Services and Goods

The Thai SEC mentioned the following reasons for the ban:

  • Money laundering concerns.
  • Cyber theft risk.
  • Digital assets didn’t improve efficiency. For the payment market, they are too volatile, and transaction fees are also too high.
  • The Central bank cannot step in when problems arise. Customer safeguards.

Moreover, the Thai SEC made it also clear that they didn’t ban trading in crypto and other digital assets. The SEC announced in coordination with the Bank of Thailand (BoT).

Thailand as a Crypto Nation

Thailand seemed to be on its way to becoming a crypto-friendly hub in South East Asia. According to a German survey by Statista, 31% of Thais own digital assets. This puts Thailand worldwide in the second spot, only Nigeria is above them.

Here is a summarized timeline about Thailand’s crypto laws :

  • 2021, ban on trading in meme-coins and NFTs.
  • End of 2021, The Thai government prepares a new set of laws on crypto.
  • January 2022, Thai authorities proposed plans to regulate payments with digital assets. 
  • March 2022, saw the Thai government ease up on the proposed tax law for crypto. Trades made on crypto exchanges approved by the government are exempt from 7% VAT. Currently, until 2023.
  • March 24th, not allowed to advertise or promote crypto payments.

On the other hand, Thailand also saw a lot of private crypto development in some companies:

  • The Mall GroupThey are a major retailer firm. Their shopping centers started to install digital asset payment devices.
  • Charoen Pokphand GroupA real estate company and part of the CP group. They offer houses for sale with crypto payment options.
  • Siam Commercial BankOne of the biggest banks in Thailand. They back Anchor Protocol and many other crypto projects. Very active on the investment side of crypto. For Thailand lovers, ‘the purple bank’.

The picture below shows an advertisement in Bangkok for a Thai crypto exchange.

Thailand SEC

Source: The Bangkok Post

Reactions in Thailand to the SEC 

Altcoin Buzz also spoke exclusively with Jen Buakaew, founder of ‘To the Moon Lab‘. She is a well-known person in and outside the Thai crypto world. She said: “I don’t support the move by the SEC. I think this confuses many people whether Thailand is crypto-friendly or not.” 

Furthermore, she mentioned. “Many ventures and startups got excited. They are eager to come to Thailand and start their operations. The news from the SEC, makes people feel that maybe Thailand is not at all into boosting the crypto industry.” 

Also, Jen correctly pointed out that the government can impose rules at any time. The fact that they don’t give much notice may have an impact as well. It can affect the decision if they chose Thailand or a different jurisdiction.

To sum up, Thailand seemed to be on track to become a crypto hub. However, the latest news by the Thai SEC didn’t help. Banning crypto payments for goods and services may backfire and put a damper on this for the time being.

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