Since May 2014, Thailand has been under the control of a military dictatorship. And given that the coup, led by the Royal Thai Armed Forces, brought internet censorship, a suspension of the Kingdom’s constitution, and a disbanding of its senate, casual observers would be forgiven for supposing that the Southeast Asian country is now possibly one of the least favorable places on Earth for the use and development of technological innovations.
However, while Thailand’s earlier history with crypto might confirm this assumption, more recent months have provided a case study in how blockchain and cryptocurrencies can find a place even within rigidly authoritarian political structures. Slowly but surely, the military junta revealed and acted on plans to legalize ICOs, to authorize crypto-exchanges, and also to enforce regulation that legitimizes crypto. And this all comes at a time when the same junta has re-permitted political activity in anticipation of next year’s general election, raising the very strong possibility that crypto will play an even bigger role in Thailand’s economic and political life as the nation continues forging its path towards modest liberalization.