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:
Thailand first country to ban Bitcoin just like it was first country to praise Twitter’s censorship move last year (beating even China)
— Jon Russell (@jonrussell) July 30, 2013
Read TNW’s report on Thailand’s Bitcoin ban here.
Another Twitter user says:
Bank of Thailand can’t control them, therefore Thailand becomes first country to outright ban Bitcoins: http://t.co/rnHXVEGk5C
— Robert (@BKKRobert) July 30, 2013
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.