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Thailand; A Case Example of Cryptocurrency Gaining Adoption Under Military Dictatorship

In May 2014, a coup that submerged Thailand under a military regime occurred. The coup, which was led by Royal Thai Armed Forces, decreed censorship on internet usage in the nation and dispersed the country’s senate, while seemingly making sure that Thailand does experience nor develop any technological breakthroughs at least in this period of their country’s history.

Thailand’s Stance on Digital Currency

The country’s government’s previous stance on cryptocurrency goes in line with this assertion, but in recent times things have changed. The nation is now being used as a case study in terms of how the blockchain technology and cryptocurrency can gain mass adoption in countries where the government employs authoritarian political structures.
The military junta in Thailand has steadily mapped out its plot to legalize ICOs in the country, authorize digital currency exchanges and put in place regulations for crypto. This is all happening at a time when political activity has been re-permitted pending next year’s general elections, which gives light to the likelihood that crypto will be used economically and politically in the nation.
It’s been surprising how much the attitude towards cryptocurrency has changed in Thailand. The reserve bank of the nation, the central Bank of Thailand, earlier in February ordered commercial banks to stop working with any cryptocurrency firms or any companies associated with crypto. Bangkok Bank became the first to follow this order, effectively ending transactions with the Thai Digital Asset Exchange (TDAX). Later, Krungthai Bank also stopped all transactions with TDAX after its CEO gave an order for the bank to do so. This string of actions led to a new wave of change in the cryptocurrency industry in Thailand, prompting TDAX to stop new registrations for ICOs which they deemed was the cause of the Thai government turning against crypto.

Somchai Sujjapongse, a permanent secretary at the Finance Ministry, made comments about Bitcoin in February that dashed the hopes of anyone anticipating a future for crypto in Thailand. Only a month later, the government released its regulations for cryptocurrency which outlined a capital gains tax of 15% and registration of crypto platforms with the authorities in the country. When the regulatory framework came into force, requiring traders and sellers to register with the SEC, the plan that the government included crypto in its future plans came to light.

Trading Volume in Thailand

Statistics showed that citizens of countries with better economies than Thailand such as Argentina and Turkey, do not trade as much cryptocurrency as the Thais. The fact that these two countries above are experiencing inflation and even with their mass adoption of crypto, still do not match Thailand, proves how huge cryptocurrency is in Thailand, and the huge mistake the government would have made if they attempted to crack down on digital currency.
bank of thailand
The regulations have also permitted ICOs to carry out operations so far they’re based in Thailand, and have permitted TDAX and six other companies, to operate as exchanges and carry out crypto transactions in the country. The government announced that they had received a lot of applications for licensing from Thai firms which want to hold a token sale or create a crypto exchange. The central bank has also permitted the country’s banks to open subsidiaries for working with crypto. The governor of the Central Bank, Veerathai Santiprabhob, also stated that the country could also issue its own cryptocurrency to allow for swifter interbank settlements. In August, it announced that it would build a Central Bank-issued digital currency (CBDC) using R3’s Corda platform.
The country has now seemingly fully embraced crypto but is still very guarded concerning digital currency. The Deputy Prime Minister, Wissanu Krea-ngam, gave a speech earlier this month that the government wants to do more to regulate cryptocurrency in order to stop them from being misused by lawbreakers, terrorists, and embezzlers.