Skip to main content

Thailand clamps down on using crypto for making payments

Closeup of two people managing online banking with smart phone
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has unveiled plans to ban cryptocurrencies and other digital assets from being used to make payments for goods and services.

The move, which was announced on Wednesday comes into effect from April 1. It means that trading in digital currencies will still be possible using them purely as assets, rather than as a direct means for purchases.

SEC, a regulatory body in the country, alongside the Bank of Thailand appears to have grown increasingly nervous about cryptocurrencies being used to pay for goods and services. The latest crackdown will allow Thailand to oversee its use, reduce fraudulent activity and help stabilise the country’s financial system.

The decision is being seen as a way of preventing currency fluctuations that could affect Thailand’s wider economy. Regulators are reportedly concerned that digital currencies could also help raise the risk of criminal activity including theft and data leaks, alongside making it easier for the criminal fraternity to launder funds.

“The SEC issues rules for providing services to digital asset operators in order not to support or promote the use of digital assets as a means of payment for goods and services in order to prevent impacts on financial stability and the national economy,” the SEC said in a statement yesterday.

Related: Best cloud storage.

Crypto thrives in Thailand

These latest regulatory changes mean that Thailand will fall into line with other countries who have also clamped down on crypto payments, including the European Union, the UK, South Korea and Malaysia.

While Thailand’s regulatory officials are less keen on cryptocurrency, citing fears of it having a detrimental effect on the country’s economic activity, the public remains remarkably positive towards digital currencies. 

Indeed, the desire for making use of digital currency makes Thailand one of the most enthusiastic economies for digital assets. In January the Thai government revealed that digital asset ownership held by the Thai people amounted to $3.4 billion.

Cover your tracks with the best VPN service.

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.