Bank of Thailand talks about crypto adoption...again
Crypto has had a bit of a weird cycle in Thailand. Sometimes it is legal, sometimes it isn't. The government seems to jump back and forth as far as how much of it they are willing to allow and of course the banking industry in the past has sought to make it completely illegal, which it was for a brief time and when I saw one of my local exchanges forcibly shut down by the government. Thankfully, any digital assets that anyone had in there at the time (I had very little) was able to be retrieved in a rather generous timeline so this wasn't just outright theft on the part of the government (which is what we expect over here.)
Then about 2 years ago the government started to allow the use of crypto for small purchases provided the business in question kept receipts, paid taxes on said sales and this resulted in a few restaurants, bars, and smaller hotels starting to accept crypto. The idea of digital assets is nothing new in Thailand, as there are many methods of installing cash on your phone via various companies that are like Paypal, and then paying for your goods using that. It just has never been crypto before.
I have been to some of these places and unfortunately, if the boss isn't there, the staff don't really know how to accept BTC or anything other than cash. The POS systems have not integrated it into the operations. However, there was another restaurant where it was very intuitive but it was kind of on you to have the ability to scan their QR code using your own wallet, which is easy enough to accomplish if you know just a little bit about what is going on and honestly, if you do not, you probably shouldn't be attempting to make transactions like this because it is a great way to lose your coins.
The Bank of Thailand, which is a mostly government-owned entity, is seeking to find way to accommodate crypto in Thailand because the growing popularity of the industry is something that the banking system can no longer ignore and after years of banning it and having people get involved with it anyway, I think the government realized that it is a waste of resources attempting to fight it. In their article where they talk about working to integrate it into the country's financial ecosystem they also are kind of trying to scare people off by making crypto sound scary and really volatile, and also try to repeatedly say that it is used for money laundering.
We all know why a bank would use these words and that is because they are afraid of losing their strangle-hold on the financial industry and thereby, their means of manipulating it.
we are starting to see these pop up around the country as well
You can read one such article here. It is mostly a very neutral article, but the wording suggests to me that there was some banking or government oversight into the wording of the article since it is halfway a "hooray for banks for being so cool to allow this!" and about a quarter "look out! crypto is dangerous and very easy to lose your money in!" and about a quarter actual useful information. I suppose that is about as good as we can expect in a country where the government controls the media.
No matter what happens with this I am glad that they are at least addressing it and looking into how they can make it part of society instead of just criminalizing it the way they did in the past. People are going to use it with or without government permission and I think intelligent governments are trying to get in on the action rather than ban it. Of course their meddling only makes things more complicated but it is better than it being illegal altogether.