As the race for Thailand’s next prime minister heats up, Srettha Thavisin, the head of the opposition Pheu Thai Party, has made a bold promise to distribute 10,000 Thai Baht (approximately $300) in cryptocurrency to every citizen if his party comes to power after the general election in May. While some have praised the move as an innovative approach to economic stimulus, others have dismissed it as a mere marketing gimmick.
The Crypto Pledge: Aiming for Economic Relief and Growth In Thailand
Thavisin, a successful real estate mogul turned political candidate, has proposed the crypto airdrop as part of a basic-income-style economic stimulus package to help alleviate the burden of high household debt experienced by many Thai citizens.
He believes that the current government’s approach to providing financial assistance, which he compares to “feeding IV drips with small money handouts,” is insufficient and does not promote healthy economic growth.
“Our country has been economically bruised over the last eight years, with less income and more expenses for the people,” Thavisin said in a statement to Bloomberg. “The current government has been feeding IV drips with small money handouts. That’s not the right way and doesn’t stimulate the proper and right economic growth.”
Legal Hurdles and Financial System Implications
However, Thavisin’s proposal may face legal hurdles, as the Bank of Thailand declared Thai Baht stablecoins illegal in 2021. Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, a minister in the prime minister’s office, warned that the airdrop proposal could have “major implications” for the country’s financial system, according to the Bangkok Post.
In addition to the legal and financial concerns, some critics question whether a crypto airdrop is the best use of resources, suggesting that the funds could be more effectively utilized in poverty alleviation programs.
With recent polls indicating a close election race and the Pheu Thai Party garnering approximately 46% of the vote, the effectiveness of Thavisin’s crypto pledge as a campaign strategy remains to be seen.
Cryptocurrency’s Growing Role in Asian Elections
It is not the first time cryptocurrency has played a prominent role in an Asian election. For example, in South Korea’s closely contested March 2022 election, Conservative Party candidate Yoon Suk-Yeol, who ultimately became President, included cryptocurrency deregulation in his legislative proposals. This strategy helped him secure a victory with a less than 1% margin.
As the Thai general election approaches, it remains to be seen whether Thavisin’s promise of a crypto airdrop will gain traction with voters and contribute to a potential Pheu Thai victory. However, regardless of the outcome, it is clear that cryptocurrency is increasingly becoming a significant factor in political campaigns across Asia.
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