Thailand has resumed its Bitcoin exchange, after changing its stance on whether the digital currency should be considered legal tender in the country.
In August last year, the Bank of Thailand ruled that Bitcoin was "not a currency" and would not be viewed as such if people attempted to use it for transactions in the country.
Although it could not criminalise the digital currnecy, Bitcoin.co.th
was effectively barred from operating in Thailand - a move that prompted the Bitcoin exchange to send a petition to the government, asking for authorisation.
This moved a step closer to reality in January, when a letter to the Bitcoin exchange from the Bank of Thailand revealed that resumption of trading was under consideration, namely "because Bitcoin exchange operations do not fall under the scope of Ministry of Finance regulation, unless foreign currencies are also offered for exchange".
As Bitcoin Co. Ltd. only offers Bitcoin trades using Thai Baht and operates only within Thailand, it announced it would be restarting its trading operations - something that officially resumed on February 15.
However, there is a caveat, as Bitcoin can only be traded in Thailand as long as it is solely converted to/from Thai baht, and not as a way of converting foreign currencies in the country - a position the Bank of Thailand does not intend to deviate from.
By Gary Cooper