Thailand’s opposition party has announced plans to hand out free cryptocurrency to citizens.
The Pheu Thai Party has proposed giving away 10,000 baht in digital currency to individuals aged 16 as part of an economic stimulus strategy. This amounts to approximately $217 USD. However, this news has met with widespread skepticism.
The party is one of the contenders in an election scheduled for May 14. Pheu Thai wants the currency spent within a 4-kilometer community radius within six months—during the project’s early phase. According to the party, the idea here is to attract more international digital currencies.
The party is generally seen as a populist-progressive political force in the Southeast Asian country. It was founded in 2008 in opposition to the military coup that removed the then-prime minister in 2006. The party draws its support from the rural and urban poor.
The crypto handout is widely seen as an attempt to make Thailand a fintech hub in the region. Experts on the country have compared it to other social welfare programs that the party has pioneered.
Some commentators believe that it is a marketing ploy, and the country is not financially capable of supporting such a populist policy.
Thailand Mixed on Digital Currency
Earlier this year, Thailand removed all income and value-added tax from companies offering ICOs. According to a 2022 study by Chainalysis, Thailand is among the top nations in the world for cryptocurrency adoption. The country ranks 8th in its “overall index ranking.”
However, Thailand lags behind other countries in regard to CBDCs.
Last August, the Bank of Thailand announced a pilot study of its central bank digital currency (CBDC). The central bank stated that it believed in the necessity of moving the development of retail CBDC into a pilot phase. However, it reiterated that it had no plans to issue digital currency for retail use.
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