The Bank of Thailand has been ordered by Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister to look closer at bitcoin and relax its strict rules which hinder fintech innovation.
Thai Central Bank Ordered to Study Bitcoin
The Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak recently ordered the Bank of Thailand (BOT) to study if bitcoin is suitable as a legal method of payment in the country, according to several local newspapers. At the fintech event organized by the Matichon Group last month, he said the Ministry of Finance and the BOT must collaborate to support fintech, adding that (loosely translated):
The Bank of Thailand will have to relax its strict rules which hinder fintech. This will allow the bank to explore the possibilities of new innovations like Bitcoin to determine if Thailand should embrace it, how suitable it is for the country, how risky, how to prevent fraud, and to encourage entrepreneurs and financial institutions to get involved in fintech.
“The BOT already knows what rules and regulations should be amended,” the deputy prime minister said. “Not everything is prohibited. Whatever is too much is not good, whatever is too little is also not good,” he argued.
While admitting Thailand cannot compete with financial centers such as Singapore, he hopes it could be a fintech leader among neighbors including Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
Bank of Thailand Has Much to Consider
In response to the Deputy Prime Minister’s order, the BOT governor, Veerathai Santiprabhob, said that there are many factors to consider in studying bitcoin. The bank will also determine if it could be used to pay off debts legally, according to the Nation TV.
The BOT governor reiterated that the bank has not adopted bitcoin as a legal currency or a method of payment like Japan has. He also noted concerns over its volatility as well as the lack of public understanding on the subject. The bank needs to carefully examine the development of bitcoin further to determine how useful it is, and weigh between its benefits and risks, he detailed.
The Thai Minister of Finance, Apisak Tantivorawong, believes that the BOT will be able to amend its rules appropriately, according to Khao Sod. He additionally suggested that Thailand should learn from other countries in determining if bitcoin is suitable for the Thai regulatory environment, taking into account the factors encountered by countries that use and do not use digital currencies. He suggested exploring how much to restrict and control bitcoin’s usage as well as how to prevent fraud and ponzi schemes, noting that these issues are all considered new in Thailand and must first be clearly defined.
What do you think the Bank of Thailand will do about bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Thai PBS, Bank of Thailand
Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.