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| January 24, 2018

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Republicans Push for Criminal Charges in Russia Probe

January 6, 2018 |

Two Republican leaders are recommending the Justice Department investigate Christoper Steele—the former British spy who authored the infamous dossier alleging collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign—for possibly lying to the FBI, the Washington Post reports. According to the New York Times , it’s the first known criminal referral…

Trump administration’s crackdown on pot sales could push banks out of cannabis industry

January 5, 2018 |

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions’ decision Thursday to scrap an Obama-era policy that offered legal shelter for state-sanctioned marijuana sales may not necessarily lead to a wave of federal drug busts. But it could crimp California’s budding pot industry in another way: by cutting its already-tenuous…

L.A. Times – Business

Thailand’s Year of Bitcoin Ends with Central Bank Education Push

December 30, 2017 |

Thailand's Year of Bitcoin Ends with Central Bank Education Push

This week the Kingdom of Thailand announced its major regulators would team up in order to better educate its people about the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, bitcoin, openly worrying it might be a Ponzi scheme. This comes after its central bank issued reminders the digital asset was not legal tender. And so The Year of Bitcoin extends globally as Thailand’s always-bustling tourism industry, its attempt to grapple with financial technology (fintech) through regulations, and an unbanked population looking for a better life make the country fertile ground for crypto.  

Also read: EU Board Member: No Plans to Issue State-Backed Cryptocurrency

Thailand's Year of Bitcoin Ends with Central Bank Education Push

Thailand’s Year of Bitcoin

The Kingdom of Thailand has a motor. The Southeast Asian, largely Buddhist nation of nearly 70 million people, along what appears to be borders drawn to resemble a squeezed water balloon, is the only country in its region to have never been colonized. It also has quietly racked up a GDP placing it in the world’s top twenty economies.  

Among its government’s stated policy desires is to become a fintech hub in the region. They’re keenly aware of carefully balancing regulation to the Goldilocks rule: not too much, not too little. As these pages reported, its executive branch ordered the central bank summer of this year to study the growing phenomenon of cryptocurrencies. The government openly stated wishing to act more like its prosperous neighbor Japan in this regard.

Thailand's Year of Bitcoin Ends with Central Bank Education Push

By fall, reported here, the Kingdom’s Securities and Exchange Commission sought public comment and guidance to help deal with initial coin offerings, again under the auspice of not choking out innovation but with an eye toward protecting its citizens from scams. In spring, these pages also noted a key to driving Thailand’s fintech boom is from necessity: the country relies on tourism for a healthy chunk of its revenue. And tourists bring with them expectations for relatively frictionless payment systems, such as credit cards. They’re also bringing new ideas like bitcoin.

By summer, even with a central bank less than enthusiastic, conferences promoting mining, merchants accepting crypto as payment, and international exchanges popping up, have lead the media to use phrasing such as “bitcoin bug” and “catches fire” to describe the country’s enthusiasm.

Thailand's Year of Bitcoin Ends with Central Bank Education Push

Official Education, Uneasy Regulation, and a Peer-to-Peer Answer

Bangkok Post reports Somchai Sujjapongse, from the Kingdom’s Finance Ministry, “will join with other authorities to educate people about bitcoin.” His comments were made at a meeting with the country’s Anti-Money Laundering Office, Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Bank of Thailand – all at the urging of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. He reportedly wants to “educate people about the risks of bitcoin investment after the recent sharp surge in bitcoin’s trading value prompted him to worry that Thais would fall victim to cryptocurrency speculation.”

Only last week, Bank of Thailand governor Veerathai Santiprabhob reminded bitcoin is still not legal tender in the country, though the central bank is not offering to regulate the growing industry just yet, an unusually restrained position.

Thailand's Year of Bitcoin Ends with Central Bank Education Push

Exchange volumes from the country have followed world trends, and Thais are eager to participate. “There are 37 bitcoin brokers in Thailand registered on LocalBitcoins, some with more than 1,000 bitcoins in assets. Prices for bitcoin are about 13% higher in Thailand than in the US, a sign of high demand for this cryptocurrency,” local media claim. There’s only one bitcoin ATM, and two larger exchanges are implementing know-your-customer constraints such as uploading pictures from passports.

Where Thais seem to be trading mostly is in the comparatively easy Localbitcoins exchange, as identification requirements aren’t as burdensome. This is especially important in a country where less than four in ten adults are formally banked, limiting their access to capital and credit in traditional ways. In such a cash-heavy economy, meetings organized such as Satoshi Square in Bangkok can be a lifeline to the world of investing, even if somewhat unorthodox. “My girlfriend knows about it because of me,” a group member is quoted, “and she is super interested because it makes sense and is all on the computer. People these days spend their lives on laptops and mobile phones,” he explained.

What are your thoughts on Thailand’s bitcoin efforts? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images: Pixabay.

Need to know the price of bitcoin? Check this chart.

The post Thailand’s Year of Bitcoin Ends with Central Bank Education Push appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Deals Boom in Push to Move Health Care Out of Hospitals

December 20, 2017 |

Health insurers, hospitals and other health-care companies are planning or contemplating deals, reflecting industry upheaval as Americans get more medical care away from hospitals. US Business

FCC votes to repeal net neutrality rules, a milestone for Republican deregulation push

December 15, 2017 |

Federal regulators voted on Thursday to repeal Obama-era net neutrality rules for internet traffic — a major victory for telecommunications companies and another milestone for the Republican deregulation push under President Trump.

The 3-2 party-line vote by the Federal Communications Commission…

L.A. Times – Business

UnitedHealth is buying hundreds of clinics in $5-billion deal as insurers push into patient care

December 6, 2017 |

UnitedHealth Group Inc., the nation’s biggest health insurer, is spending nearly $ 5 billion to buy hundreds of clinics, just three days after rival Aetna Inc. announced a tie-up with CVS Health Corp.

Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealth said Wednesday that its Optum segment will buy the DaVita…

L.A. Times – Business

Businesses Push to Repeal Corporate AMT

December 5, 2017 |

Technology, banking and other industries mounted a new round of lobbying Monday to save a wide range of tax breaks following the last-minute switch in the federal tax overhaul by the U.S. Senate. US Business

Recalls Mount During Ford’s Reinvention Push

November 26, 2017 |

Ford Chief Executive Jim Hackett wants to push the 114-year-old auto maker toward the future as fast as he can. Right now, though, he is contending with mounting costs from safety recalls. US Business

After U.S. Push, Asian Nations Tighten Screws on North Korea

November 18, 2017 |

Southeast Asian countries are cracking down on North Korea’s conduits for doing business in the region, a change for many after months of U.S. pressure, though some remain reluctant participants in the campaign to isolate Pyongyang. What’s News Asia

San Diego’s big hospitals plan a push into medical tourism

November 13, 2017 |

Planning a visit to San Diego? Hit the beaches. Check. Spend a day at the zoo or a theme park. Check. Sample craft beer. Check. Book a stay at a local hospital for cutting-edge cardiac or cancer treatment?

For decades, San Diego has traded on its reputation for year-round sun, a captivating coastline…

L.A. Times – Business