The State of Bitcoin in Thailand

Thailand is best known as one of the top holiday destinations globally, though at the same time, it is one of the leaders in cryptocurrency adoption as well. The likes of Singapore, Japan, and Hong Kong are some of the popular blockchain hubs in Asia, but Thailand is looking to catch up fast.

However, Thailand was not always a haven for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. The country had originally banned cryptocurrencies in 2016 before changing its stance last year. As it stands, seven cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, are legal in Thailand. Let’s take a closer look at the Bitcoin regulatory scenario in Thailand.

The Regulatory Environment

In June last year, Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) officially announced regulations regarding cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs). The regulations required ICO issuers, brokers, dealers, and digital exchanges to register with the SEC within a period of three months from the date the regulations were enforced.

Additionally, cryptocurrency participants also need to take the Thai Finance Ministry’s approval if they wish to be in the digital assets business. The upfront license fee has been set at 5 million baht (approx. $156,194), with half of that meant for token distribution and the other half for carrying out cryptocurrency operations.

An annual fee of 0.002% of the total trading volumes has been set for cryptocurrency exchanges, while brokerage firms will have to pay 0.001% of their total trading volumes as annual fees. The minimum annual fee has been set at 500,000 baht for crypto exchanges while the maximum annual fee that could be charged is 20 million baht. Brokerages have a lower minimum annual fee of 250,000 baht and a maximum of 5 million baht.

In all, the charges aren’t prohibitive like in other countries such as Indonesia. The Thai Ministry of Finance has granted digital asset business licenses to four cryptocurrency firms in January 2019 based on the latest regulations, and rejected two applications who didn’t meet the required criteria related to security, KYC processes, and custody systems. As such, the two exchanges have been directed to return funds in custody back to their customers.

However, they can reapply for a license once they meet the approval criteria. This makes it clear that the Thai government is taking steps to protect investors from potential losses by ensuring that the cryptocurrency ecosystem in the country is in strong shape. As it turns out, this isn’t the only positive step undertaken by Thailand to boost adoption of the likes of Bitcoin.

In May last year, the Revenue Department of Thailand had announced that individual cryptocurrency investors won’t have to pay the 7% value-added tax. As such, the regulatory environment in Thailand seems favorable for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, paving the way for greater adoption of the same.

Buying and Spending Bitcoin in Thailand

One of the easiest ways to buy Bitcoin in Thailand is through cryptocurrency exchanges. There are quite a few of these exchanges in the country where you can sign-up and buy Bitcoin, though choosing one will depend on various factors such as transaction fees, payment modes, verification requirements, reputation, and withdrawal limits, among others.

To make it easy, refer to our guide on Bitcoin Exchanges in Thailand. However, potential buyers should ideally get a wallet first to store the Bitcoin, as some exchanges might require them to do so. Additionally, having a separate wallet is advisable for security reasons. In case you don’t have a wallet already, refer to our guide on the Best Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Wallets to choose one.

On the other hand, Bangkok residents can go to a Bitcoin ATM and purchase the cryptocurrency using cash. There are two Bitcoin ATMs in Bangkok and one in Chiang Mai. The advantage of buying Bitcoin through ATMs is that the purchase is instant and most of them usually don’t require identity verification, making the purchase anonymous. You can locate a Bitcoin ATM in Thailand using our Bitcoin ATM Map.

However, be prepared to pay higher transaction fees in the range of 5%-10% if you’re buying Bitcoin through the ATM in exchange for the privileges.

As such, Bitcoin seems to have a great future in Thailand thanks to the government’s positive approach toward cryptocurrencies, the acceptability of the currency, and its status as a famous holiday destination that could do with a variety of alternative payment options.

The State of Bitcoin in Thailand
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