Exchange claims Thailand has outlawed bitcoin

Exchange claims Thailand has outlawed bitcoin

The Bank of Thailand has effectively outlawed bitcoin by declaring it illegal to buy and sell the virtual currency or use it to make purchases, claims a local exchange.

In a message on its Web site, Bitcoin Co. Ltd. says that it was given the news at a conference with Bank of Thailand staffers Monday.

The exchange says that it has spent several months registering with various Thai government agencies and was initially told by the Bank of Thailand that it did not need a money exchange license because bitcoin is not a currency.

However, the firm was called in to a conference today where it gave a presentation on bitcoin and its own operations.

Officials then decided that "due to lack of existing applicable laws, capital controls and the fact that Bitcoin straddles multiple financial facets," several related activities are illegal in Thailand.

It is illegal to buy and sell bitcoins; to buy and sell and goods or services in exchange for bitcoins; and to send or receive bitcoins outside of the country.

Given this, Bitcoin Co. Ltd. is suspending its operations until the law changes, something that the Bank of Thailand has said it will look into but has offered no time-frame for.

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