The Bank of Thailand is warning people to refrain from participating in any activities involving Thai Baht Digital (THT), as there are no legal assurances or protection with it and users could be at risk of cybertheft or money laundering.
Pruettipong Srimachand, the central bank's assistant governor of the legal group, said any activities involving the new stablecoin THT that was created abroad on the Terra platform are considered illegal. The creation, issuance, usage or circulation of any material or token for money is a violation of Section 9 of the Currency Act 1958.
The central bank said recent developments have seen the private sector attempting to create cryptocurrencies using underlying assets or fiat currencies as an anchor to minimise price volatility. Such cryptocurrencies are known as stablecoins.
More recently, a new form of stablecoins using underlying algorithmic smart contracts was created to replicate the price and movement of various currencies. One unit of the stablecoin THT is denominated in and valued at one baht. Although THT is not used as a medium of exchange, it could cause fragmentation of the Thai currency system should THT or other stablecoins come to replace, substitute or compete with baht issued by the central bank, he said.
"Such usage would ultimately affect the general public's confidence in the stability of the national currency system, which is the cornerstone of all economic activities," said Mr Pruettipong.
In a separate development, the Bank of Thailand announced it plans to stop using Thai Baht Interest Rate Fixing (THBFIX), the existing reference rate which incorporates the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) for interest rate calculation, after June 30, 2023, in line with the upcoming plans to phase out the LIBOR.
The central bank is the THBFIX regulator and it uses the US dollar LIBOR format to calculate rates. The bank announced it will inform commercial banks of the terms of the THBFIX rate through existing channels until its usage comes to an end.
The Bank of Thailand plans to stop new TBHFIX-based financial calculations including loans, debentures and derivatives from July 1 of this year.