Thailand bans bitcoins
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Thailand bans bitcoins

By Staff Reporter

Thailand has become the first country in the world to ban the electronic currency Bitcoin after ruling it illegal. The decision by the Bank of Thailand effectively puts a blanket ban on the use of bitcoins in the Southeast Asian nation.

It appears that an attempt to legitimize the currency in Thailand backfired. Bitcoin yesterday released a statement saying that, “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:

* Buying Bitcoins

* Selling Bitcoins

* Buying any goods or services in exchange for Bitcoins

* Selling any goods or services for Bitcoins

* Sending Bitcoins to anyone located outside of Thailand

* Receiving Bitcoins from anyone located outside of Thailand”

Bitcoin said it had no choice but to stop operations in Thailand, but did point out that the “Bank of Thailand has said they will further consider the issue, but did not give any specific timeline.”

Thailand is no stranger to crackdowns on Internet activity, and the reaction to this latest move has been largely negative so far. The Next Web’s Asia editor Jon Russell tweets:

Read TNW’s report on Thailand’s Bitcoin ban here.

Another Twitter user says:

Thailand is not the only country to be troubled by the growing popularity of the stateless currency, though it is the first to ban it.

The Associated Press reports:

Despite wild swings in value, the virtual currency has been inching toward broader acceptance. Atlanta-based BitPay handles bitcoin transactions for more than 4,500 companies, taking payments in bitcoins and forwarding the cash equivalent to the vendor involved.

The statement says Bitcoin Co. Ltd. applied for a money exchange license as part of efforts to operate lawfully in Thailand.

The central bank did not immediately comment.