The Bank of Thailand “Bans” Bitcoin

August 1st, 2013 → 10:26 pm @

Yesterday, The Bank of Thailand declared Bitcoin illegal.  Yes, you heard me… ILLEGAL!

The bank contacted  Bitcoin Co. Ltd. ( and advised them to halt trading.  Here is a clip from Bitcoin Co. Ltd’s website.

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.

Of course, this sounds really, really bad.  However, we first must examine the jurisdiction of the Bank of Thailand and ask ourselves, “can they really ban Bitcoin?”

The simple answer is no.  The Bank is not responsible for creating law, this job actually falls upon the Ministry of Finance.  Also, because Bitcoin is not a foreign currency, current regulatory law has not been defined to encompass Bitcoin.  For those of you interested in the technical jargon, read below.

The furthest the Bank of Thailand’s authority reaches in relation to foreign exchange media is stated in the Exchange Control Act (B.E. 2485) and Ministerial Regulation No. 13 (B.E. 2497) of that act. The language actually seems favorable towards Bitcoin if it were to fall under the definition of a foreign currency in Thailand. “Foreign currencies can be transferred or brought into Thailand without limit” but need to be deposited “with an authorized bank within 360 days of receipt”, and amounts “exceeding USD 20,000 or its equivalent must declare to a customs officer”. It seems that confusion may have arisen particularly over whether was authorized to conduct a foreign exchange business, because “[a]ny transactions not conducted through the above-mentioned licensees require approval from the Competent Officer on a case by case basis.” (source:

Although The Bank of Thailand’s advisement is certainly not good news for Bitcoin, you can rest assured that Bitcoin is not illegal in Thailand.

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