Virtual currency bitcoin has been banned in Thailand, according to a prominent bitcoin exchange that operates in the Southeast Asian country.
According to Bitcoin Co., a Bangkok-based website that trades the digital currency, it had been in the process of registering with governmental agencies but the application was turned down and the currency has now been made illegal.
Bitcoin is a virtual currency that allows users to exchange online credits for goods and services. While there is no central bank that issues them, bitcoins can be created online by using a computer to complete difficult tasks, a process known as mining.
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Thailand's central bank initially bypassed the Bitcoin Co.'s money exchange license on the basis that bitcoin was not a currency, the exchange said. It was given the opportunity to present the merits of the currency to the central bank on Monday but was given news of the move to outlaw it shortly afterwards.
"At the conclusion of the meeting senior members of the Foreign Exchange Administration and Policy Department advised that due to lack of existing applicable laws, capital controls and the fact that bitcoin straddles multiple financial facets, the following bitcoin activities are illegal in Thailand," a statement on Bitcoin Co.'s website said on Monday.