Virtual currency Bitcoin declared illegal in Thailand
BANGKOK (AP) - A Bitcoin exchange in Thailand says it has suspended trading after officials declared the virtual currency illegal in a setback for efforts to bring it into the financial mainstream.
The company overseeing bitcoins in Thailand said on its website that the central bank informed it on Monday that it's illegal to trade bitcoins, move them in or out of the country, or use them to buy or sell goods or services.
Despite wild swings in value, the virtual currency has been inching toward broader acceptance. Atlanta-based BitPay handles bitcoin transactions for more than 4,500 companies, taking payments in bitcoins and forwarding the cash equivalent to the vendor involved.
The statement said Bitcoin Co. Ltd. had applied to the Bank of Thailand for a money exchange licence as part of efforts in the past several months to ensure it was operating lawfully in the country.