Thailand Leads The Way In Crypto – Will It Steal A March On The US?

Think about financial powerhouse countries on the world stage, and you would be forgiven if Thailand does not appear in your top five – or even ten. Yet the small South East Asian nation is set to become a major player in a fringe area that is about to become very big – the ever-growing crypto scene.


While the US government continues to tie itself up in knots over how to handle cryptocurrency, Thailand has welcomed the technology with open arms. The Thai government has been vociferous in its support for crypto and the Central Bank has even issued a press statement that it is working, with government support, to map out its own digital currency.


Public adoption of crypto

Government support is one thing, but what really stands out is the level to which the average man or woman on the street of Bangkok is taking to crypto. We have discussed in a previous article how Bitcoin is particularly popular among online gamblers, particularly in jurisdictions where there are legal restrictions on indulging in their hobby and this gives one clue as to why Bitcoin is becoming so popular in Thailand.

In some respects, the legal rules around online gambling resemble those in the US. Specifically, online casinos are prohibited in Thailand, but there is no law against Thai citizens visiting ones that are based outside the country. The Bitcasino website is one that is familiar to anyone who likes to use their cryptocurrency for a spin on the reels, and it is also available in Thailand. As you can see, it is the same site with the same offers, but in the Thai language.

Asia is the largest gambling market in the world, and Thais enjoy playing slots and roulette as much as their neighbours from Cambodia or the Philippines. The ability to simply buy their Bitcoins, visit an overseas casino like this and then, if they get lucky, cash in their winnings is therefore a huge draw.


Businesses and regulators working together

Across most of the western world, businesses, governments and regulators seem to operate in spite of one another. The idea of them all pulling in the same direction in a spirit of cooperation sounds like some sort of Utopia, but that’s exactly what is happening in Thailand’s burgeoning crypto market.

It’s noticeable that the blockchain companies and exchanges setting up in Thailand work closely with local regulators from the outset, even while they are just starting up and growing their communities. Buy in from local government helps to bolster their credibility as well as smoothing the regulatory path.

It’s not just a case of the start ups seeking to “suck up” to the government, however. There is a genuine willingness among regulators to be progressive in emerging technology. Zac Cheah is CEO of Pundi X, an Asia-based blockchain technology company with global aspirations. He spoke to Techcrunch magazine about the attitude of the Thai government to the new dynamic, and commented that government itself is changing at a rapid rate.

He said the government has “people that are very knowledgeable about what is happening right now,” and added: “They know [blockchain] will change the landscape a lot so I think they are trying to think through the ‘tokenomics’ of how they want to get involved.”

It is an attitude from which western governments could learn some valuable lessons. The people, businesses, regulators and government all wanting the same thing and pushing in the same direction to achieve it? Some people say that cryptocurrency is leading us to a brave new world, and if the attitude is Thailand is a hint of what is to come, they might just be right.

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