The Cryptocurrency landscape in Thailand has experienced several twists and turns!
The Thai Government and Regulators such as the Bank of Thailand and the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission have a strenuous “love-hate relationship” with these digital assets. Bitcoin was temporarily banned and declared illegal back in 2013, before finally having its status reviewed only 1-year later…
Thailand has now reviewed its stance on these digital assets and the Kingdom now officially recognizes BTC as a legitimate currency; this legitimization also includes several other cryptocurrencies, a select list of which were published in the Royal Enactment on Digital Asset Businesses BE 2561 (REDA).
Fast forward to 2021 cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Ripple (XRP) have now been propelled into the spotlight as an alternative form of investment. Thailand now has several regulated and approved Digital Asset Exchanges and Dealers notably Bitkub, Zipmex and Bitazza.
Can you buy real estate in Thailand with Bitcoin or Crypto?
Short answer is YES!
But, before you start shopping for real estate in Thailand, there are a few things to consider:
1. Finding a Seller & Negotiation
A significant obstacle any buyer will face is finding a seller willing to accept crypto as a form of payment for their property. This in itself is a major issue facing most buyers at present as this severely limits the real estate options available.
It is important to note, that if a crypto sale is agreed between the buyer and seller, the additional issue of pegging the exchange rate (I.e., BTC/ THB or ETH/ THB) will also be a major point of negotiation.
Interestingly, some real estate agents, especially in Thailand’s coastal cities, have started to advertise both sales and rental listings where the landlord accepts crypto!
2. Foreign Buyers & “FX Forms”
Another important “legal hurdle” specifically facing foreign buyers are the laws and regulations surrounding foreign property ownership in Thailand. At present, foreigners cannot directly own land or landed property (I.e., Villas, Townhouses, etc.) and therefore can only own Condominium Freehold Titles (Condos).
The sale and transfer of condos is usually made at the local Land Office and they specifically require a “Foreign Exchange Transaction Form”. This FX Form is issued by a Thai Bank as proof that funds were transferred from overseas and in foreign currency. This is a legal requirement for the Land Office to approve and process the transfer of a condo.
Unfortunately, obtaining this document from a Digital Exchange or Dealer is currently not possible. As a result, obtaining this document would require the engagement of a “Third Party Intermediary” to facilitate the sales process.
Therefore, at present purchasing real estate in Thailand using crypto is likely going to be mostly the domain of Thai nationals.
Leading Thai developers now accepting cryptocurrencies
The pandemic has been a catalyst for the adoption of crypto and putting them in the spotlight as an alternative investment and legitimate form of currency!
Interestingly, the challenging market conditions of 2020-21 have encouraged many established and well-recognized Thai Developers to seek opportunities in the crypto space. Many developers have specifically announced their intention to accept crypto as a form of payment for their new developments or even for the payment of real estate services such as common area and management fees.
Here is a brief summary of the Thai Developers that have made these announcements:
SET-Listed Developer recently announced that it is working with cryptocurrency exchange Bitkub Capital Group Holdings to start facilitating the digital currency exchange service for home purchases.
Origin Property is another established SET-Listed Developer joining hands with Bitkub Capital Group Holdings to accept various cryptocurrencies notably Ethereum, Tether USD- USDT and Bitcoin for a specific selection of their low and high-rise projects.
Ananda Development, the developer of the Ideo and Ashton branded developments is also partnering with Bitkub to accept digital assets for the purchase of all its residential projects.
Perhaps the most ambitious move is by the highly-established Sansiri, which has invested a total of Bt1.6 billion into XSpring Capital. This company is a financial and brokerage firm that is expanding its financial service offerings into the cryptocurrency space.
Sansiri plans to partner with XSpring Capital to accept digital currencies as a form of payment for all its housing projects. The developer is also working on the possibility of launching ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) to enhance the investment returns of its real estate offerings.
Thailand Real Estate & Cryptocurrency
Thailand’s crypto landscape and its growing influence on the local real estate market is definitely an interesting space to watch. It is important to note that the Thai regulations and laws surrounding these new age digital assets are still “work in progress” and subject to overnight change.
Many property professionals view cryptocurrencies and digital assets as a way to stimulate the struggling real estate market. Cryptocurrencies represent an incredible opportunity, especially in the increasingly fast-paced and digitized post-COVID world!
Quick legal disclaimer: Fresh Property is not a law firm and we are not qualified legal professionals. This article was published purely to offer an overview of the current trends in the Thai Real Estate Market. This article should not be construed as legal or investment advice.