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Expert: Facebook’s Libra Could Face Difficulties Entering Thai Market

Facebook’s long-awaited stablecoin Libra could face a difficult roll out in Thailand due to the coin’s uncertain legal status in the country, an expert told the Bangkok Post on July 9.

Fiscal Policy Office legal officer Sumaporn Manason argued that Libra will likely run up against difficulties entering Thailand as the cryptocurrency does not fall under any of local financial legislation. Sumaporn stated:

“The cryptocurrency does not fit under the Bank of Thailand’s Currency Act because it does not have the characteristics of legal tender as stipulated by law. These characteristics refer to a banknote or coin having value in baht or being identifiable as an object or note used to pay debts or exchange with other currencies in accordance with the law.”

Sumaporn further outlined three possible scenarios for Libra such as an explicit ban introduced by financial authorities, an absence of regulation in order to promote greater financial inclusion, or regulation through an intermediary.

An adviser at Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission, Bhume Bhumiratana, pointed out the possibility of the Bank of Thailand issuing its own digital currency before Libra gets an edge in mass adoption. However, it would be difficult for the central bank to manage, according to Bhume.

Libra has sparked serious concerns in many jurisdictions around the world. Earlier today, Cointelegraph reported that the former governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) said that  “China should take precautions” against the trend represented by Libra. The current deputy PBoC governor, Pan Gongsheng, recently characterized security token offerings as an “illegal” financing activity.

Meanwhile, the United States House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services requested that Facebook and its partners stop the development of Libra. The committee noted that it believes it could have serious implications:

”This raises serious privacy, trading, national security, and monetary policy concerns for not only Facebook’s over two billion users, but also for investors, consumers, and the broader global economy.”