legal – Blockchain – Cryptocurrencies – Real estate
Buying real-estate in Thailand with crypto-currencies
Since bursting onto the scene, Bitcoin has changed the way people think about and invest their money.
Thailand now recognises Bitcoin (BTC) as a legitimate currency (as well as other crypos listed in the Royal Enactment on Digital Asset Businesses (REDA) e.g Ethereum – ETH, Ripple – XRP and Stellar – XLM). Thailand has also granted licenses for crypto exchange brokers, such as Bitkub & Bitazza, allowing users in Thailand to cash out crypto into THB.
Is it possible to use your crypto to buy a property in Thailand?
In theory, yes, but in practice it depends on the type of property and the structuring of the transaction.
Under Thai law, foreigners can own condos, buildings/structures (e.g villas), lease land or property but they CANNOT own land.
A common way for foreigners to purchase land is to set up a Thai company (which owns the land) and then build the property (the property would be 100% foreign-owned).
An alternative option would be for the purchaser to enter into a long term lease agreement.
You also need to establish whether or not the seller will accept a payment in Bitcoin. If they refuse to accept Bitcoin, you may be able to send the payment using a stable coin such as Tether (USDT), which the seller can easily cash out into THB.
Buying a condominium with bitcoin in Thailand
A foreigner may buy and 100% own a condo, however, the following criteria must be met:
- The ratio of condo units owned by foreigners in the building must not exceed 49% of the total units.
- The funds being used to buy the unit are remitted from abroad.
When registering the transfer of ownership at the Land Office, the officers will request an FX form from the bank showing that the funds have been transferred from a bank abroad in a foreign currency. Unfortunately, unlike banks, crypto exchanges can’t provide this kind of document.
Therefore, if you want to buy a condo using crypto you must cash out into FIAT (a Government backed legal tender such as USD), deposit the FIAT in a bank account abroad and then transfer the funds to Thailand.
Property/land owned through a Company
If the land is already owned by an existing company, you may simply buy that company outright. Technically this would be a share transfer transaction and you would have to pay the owner directly. If the owner accepts crypto as a form of payment, you could complete the transaction using this method.
Buying the property/land directly from the owner though a new Thai company
This option involves much more bureaucracy, such as various corporate and accounting issues, dealing with the Land Office and taxes etc.
When you purchase land, the transfer of ownership must be registered at the Land Office. The Land Office requires that the sale amount be specified in FIAT (the seller and the buyer must create a specific agreement for this).
The Land Office will also require the transfer fees and any taxes to be paid in THB.
If the buyer is a company, the funds required to buy the property have to appear on the company’s balance sheet. At the time of writing, crypto cannot be used as registered capital.
A long-term lease (up to a maximum of 30 years) is a simple way for foreigners to gain an interest in a piece of land. Leaseholds can be renewed for successive terms of not more than 30 years (up to 50 years for industrial or commercial purposes).
Once registered at the Land Office (required for leases of more than 3 years), the lease becomes a lien upon the title deed (if the land is sold, the lessee keeps his right to use the land until the lease ends).
If the owner of the land agrees, the lessor can pay the rental price in crypto. For long-term leases registered at the Land Office, the rental amount needs to be specified in FIAT (the lessor and the lessee would create a specific agreement for this).
The registration fee for the lease must be paid in THB.
Owning Land through a Thai Limited Company Versus Leasehold
A Thai company is an efficient vehicle for holding property when compared to a leasehold, but it comes with additional costs. The key differences between the two are highlighted below:
|Foreign ownership||Up to 49% on the land 100%||No ownership but full rights on land until the end of the lease (30 years maximum)|
|Resale||Transfert shares and change director of the company||Difficult to resell|
|Main risks||In case of nominee, penalties and obligations to restructure the company||Renewal for one or more successive terms of 30 years is not automatic and may be problematic.|
|Timeline||2 to 3 weeks||1 week|
|Mostely used for||Holding the land for resale. Own a property and ensure transfer to your heirs.||Project with a quick revenue (such as hotel on seaside where land is really expensive to buy freehold).|
|Setup cost||From THB 40,000||From THB 50,000|
Crypto can be used to buy property in Thailand in certain situations e.g. purchasing land through a company or long-term leasehold.
If you have to convert your crypto into FIAT, you must register with a crypto exchange, pass the KYC and prove the source of your funds. Failure to do so could result in having your funds frozen. Our experts in financial law and real estate are on hand to assist you and ensure a smooth transaction.
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