The Thai Finance Ministry has announced that it will join in an effort to educate Thai citizens about the risks involved with investing in and trading Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. According to the Bangkok Post, the decision was made by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in the wake of the most recent BTC “roller-coaster ride” that brought the currency up to nearly $20,000 before crashing to roughly $12,000.
The ministry is concerned at what it has identified as parallels between the cryptocurrency markets at large and “investment in Ponzi schemes”, according to Mr. Somchai Sujjapongse, Permanent Secretary of the Thai Ministry of Finance. In a meeting with the Bank of Thailand, the Thai SEC, and the Thai Anti-Money Laundering Office, Sujjapongse said that people must be educated about the high level of risk involved in cryptocurrency markets that have not yet been regulated.
Thai Government Has Held Off From Regulating Crypto
Despite the heightened concern about investment in digital currencies, however, neither the Bank of Thailand nor the Thai government have taken any steps to regulate cryptocurrencies themselves. Just last week, Veerathai Santiprabhob, governor of the Bank of Thailand, reaffirmed that cryptocurrencies are not considered to be legal tender in Thailand.
According to the Bangkok Post, the Thai government’s lack of regulation surrounding cryptocurrencies up to this point has been because of a general lack of concern that crypto “could cause systemic risks for Thailand.” However, the Thai SEC did issue a statement in September that ICOs “[resembling] financial returns, rights and obligations in similar ways to securities under the Securities and Exchange Act” will be subject to regulation as securities by the SEC.
Although Thailand’s regulatory approach to cryptocurrencies does seem to be tightening its belt, the country has maintained a far more balanced attitude than some other Asian countries. China enacted a sweeping set of bans that ultimately outlawed domestic cryptocurrency exchanges in the country in September.
Last week, South Korea sent BTC into a tailspin when it announced that it was considering a similar ban. The Indian government issued a warning against crypto investing earlier today, although no specific action against crypto has been taken in the country.
If South Korea and other countries around the world continue down the path of stricter regulation, countries like Thailand may be in a position to begin occupying a much larger percentage of the crypto market at large. As long as Thailand’s attitude continues to prioritize education over prohibition, the entire crypto ecosystem could benefit from a more discerning and aware base of users and investors.