This is interesting. A Bitcoin based startup in Thailand says it has suspended all operations because the Bank of Thailand has banned the crypto-currency in the country.
According to the company, which goes by the name of Bitcoin Co. Ltd. members of the country’s Foreign Exchange Administration and Policy Department advised it after a meeting that a lack of existing applicable laws, capital controls and the fact that “Bitcoin straddles multiple financial facets”, a number of Bitcoin activities are illegal in Thailand. These activities include:
- 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
The startup claims that it has done everything in its power to stay on the right side of the law, but that the bank has effectively made it impossible for it to keep operating.
If that’s really the case then, as Ars Technica notes, it would make Thailand the first country to officially ban Bitcoin.
While the same factors affecting Bitcoin would most likely apply to a number of other forms of digital currency, it’s unclear whether any arms of the law would take proactive action in prosecuting people engaged in the buying and selling of Bitcoin.
It should also be noted that the biggest problem seems to be the lack of applicable laws. But even were the state to put laws in place regulating Bitcoin, the nature of the currency means that they would be incredibly difficult to enforce, except among public facing trading sites.