A Thai cafe serves crypto tips with coffee and cakes

NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand, Jan 31 (Reuters) – A cafe in northeast Thailand has become home to cryptocurrency traders, adding banks of screens showing the latest market moves and offering investment advice alongside coffee and cakes.

Behind a calm exterior of cherry blossoms, customers of HIP Coffee & Restaurant stare at their laptops, nervously supping on iced coffee — part of a growing interest in digital assets in Thailand that has regulators worried.

“It’s exciting for me to be here because I meet people who share the same interests,” said Detnarong Satianphut, a 35-year-old crypto trader.

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“We (traders) can exchange information because in the trading world we come up against millions of people.”

Cryptocurrencies have been gaining momentum in Thailand, with no less than 251 billion baht ($7.62 billion) of digital assets traded in November, according to the latest official data.

Earlier this month, Thailand announced it would begin regulating the use of digital assets as means of payment, warning of potential risks to financial stability and the overall economic system.

HIP cafe, which has been around since 2013, got a makeover in 2020.

Since then, according to the staff, its clientele has doubled. Director Oakkharawat Yongsakuljinda said the cafe provides alternative investment opportunities for people in the surrounding province of Nakhon Ratchasima.

He offers free investment advice and plans to launch his own cryptocurrency coin.

Its clients say trading in the cafe offers them the best chance of success in a volatile market, in which the best-known cryptocurrency, bitcoin, hit a six-month low this week.

“Having so many screens helps a lot… We immediately know and analyze the crash factors and whether we should buy,” said Apakon Putnok, a 23-year-old trader.

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Reporting by Vorasit Satienlerk and Jiraporn Kuhakan; Written by John Geddie; Editing by Tom Hogue

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