Thailand’s NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Jan 31 (Reuters) – A cafe in north-east Thailand has been transformed into a haven for cryptocurrency traders, with the addition of banks of screens showing the latest market movements and offering investment advice alongside coffee and cake.
Behind a serene façade of cherry blossom trees, customers of HIP Coffee & Restaurant stare at their laptops, nervously sipping iced coffee – part of a growing interest in digital assets in Thailand that has regulators concerned.
“Being here is exciting for me because I get to meet people who share my interests,” said Detnarong Satianphut, a 35-year-old cryptocurrency trader.
“We (traders) exchange information because we are up against millions of people in the trading world.”
Thailand’s cryptocurrency market has been gaining traction, with up to 251 billion baht ($7.62 billion) worth of digital assets traded in November, according to the latest official data.
Thailand announced earlier this month that it would begin regulating the use of digital assets as payment methods, citing potential threats to financial stability and the overall economic system.
The HIP cafe, which opened in 2013, received a crypto makeover in 2020.
According to staff, its customer base has doubled since then. According to manager Oakkharawat Yongsakuljinda, the cafe provides alternative investment opportunities for residents of the neighbouring province of Nakhon Ratchasima.
It provides free investment advice and is considering launching its own cryptocurrency coin.