Thailand tells banks to avoid activity in digital-assets trading

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Thailand tells banks to avoid activity in digital-assets trading

BANGKOK (BLOOMBERG) The Bank of Thailand said commercial banks should avoid “direct involvement” in trading of digital assets, citing their high volatility and potential risks to financial and payment stability.

Commercial banks should focus on safety, “as they are responsible for the deposits of the people,” BOT Senior Director Chayawadee Chai-Anant said at a briefing on Tuesday. The statement reaffirms the central bank’s stance of not supporting digital assets as means of payment for goods and services.

The comments at a press briefing in Bangkok come after some Thai banks have stepped activity related to digital assets. Siam Commercial Bank last month announced its plan to acquire a 51 per cent stake in the country’s biggest crypto-exchange operator for US$530 million. Asked about Siam Commercial Bank’s plan, Chayawadee said the deal doesn’t reflect “direct involvement” and will be treated like investment in a high-risk portfolio.

As such, the bank will be required to set aside sufficient reserves that reflect the designation.

The central bank said last week that it is working with Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission on guidelines to regulate use of digital assets as a means of payment for goods and services to limit risks. The priority should be on technology that promotes financial innovation, enhances the efficiency and security of the payments system and safeguards the economic and financial systems, Chayawadee said.

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