A Thailand-based Bitcoin startup has had to suspend all operations after discovering that their country has effectively banned Bitcoins completely. Bitcoin Co. Ltd. was informed by the Bank of Thailand that the Foreign Exchange Administration and Policy Department declared Bitcoin activities illegal due to "lack of existing applicable laws", amongst other reasons.
Due to the ruling, buying and selling Bitcoins, trading goods for Bitcoins, and sending/receiving Bitcoins in Thailand is banned. As Bitcoins are completely digital and users can access funds through a number of means, it's not quite clear how Thailand would actually be able to enforce a ban on the cryptocurrency. It's also the first time a country has completely banned Bitcoin, with most countries treating it as a 'virtual currency' while keeping it legal.
At this stage it's not clear when the ban goes into effect or what the consequences are for continuing to trade Bitcoins in Thailand, but most people will likely keep using the currency as there's no real way for the government to check its usage. Bitcoin is used on a minimal basis for actual trade, so even if a ban is somehow enforced, it won't affect many people in the country.
Thailand isn't afraid of censoring the internet, with a large number of websites being actively blocked by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology at an ISP level, mostly in an effort to curb pornography and to keep the peace. The banning of Bitcoin adds to the list of technological censorships faced by people living in the southeast Asian country.
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