Thai Political Party Proposes Digital Currency Stimulus
The Pheu Thai Party, a major political party in opposition to the current prime minister’s party, has proposed a significant stimulus project using blockchain technology in Thailand. At an April 5 campaign event, the party announced plans to provide all Thai residents over the age of 16 with a stipend of 10,000 Thai baht, or roughly $300, in digital currency. The party’s candidate for prime minister, Srettha Thavisin, touted the initiative as a way to help the local economy, and said that blockchain technology would be used to facilitate the distribution of funds.
The plan is similar to the universal basic income initiative proposed by U.S. presidential candidate Andrew Yang in the 2020 elections, which aimed to provide eligible people in the United States with $1,000 every month. The Pheu Thai Party's initiative would provide a one-time payment of $300 to roughly 50-60 million Thai residents over the age of 16, which could cost the government between $14 billion and $18 billion.
Thailand's Securities and Exchange Commission has been considering a ban on staking and lending services, and has established stricter rules for crypto custody providers, despite crypto exchanges and trading generally being permissible in the country. Additionally, the country's central bank has warned investors about stablecoins pegged to the baht. However, the Pheu Thai Party's digital currency stimulus project has the potential to boost adoption of cryptocurrencies in Thailand, and could pave the way for further developments in the country's blockchain industry.
Thailand's next general election is scheduled for May 14, with all 500 seats in the country's House of Representatives up for grabs. Current Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is eligible to hold his position until 2025, following a decision from Thailand’s Constitutional Court regarding his term limit. The Pheu Thai Party's proposal could have a significant impact on the election, and could influence voters to support the party's pro-crypto stance.