Thailand’s latest leadership upholds its campaign promise in a decisive push towards a digital economy. Citizens are set to receive a significant cash handout. And how? Through the innovative use of blockchain technology and crypto wallets.
A Monumental Blockchain Effort in Thailand
On September 7th, the Bangkok Post unveiled that the Pheu Thai-led government intends to employ digital ledger technology to fulfill its financial stimulus commitment. This move signifies a modern shift and a deepening trust in blockchain.
A sum of 10,000 Thai baht, approximately $US280, is expected to reach recipients’ wallets via blockchain. What’s reassuring? “The entire process will harness high-security blockchain, ensuring full traceability,” as quoted. However, there’s still ambiguity regarding whether the government will lean on existing blockchain platforms or develop a tailor-made solution.
Beneficiaries of this generous act will acquire a digital wallet. Interestingly, its usage is localized. Recipients can spend at shops and establishments within a four-kilometer radius of their official residence. This initiative is more than a simple handout. It’s a strategy to drive growth in local economies, combating the income concentration in metropolitan zones.
Furthermore, this move aims to bridge the digital financial divide. As the Bangkok Post highlighted, the project stands to “level the playing field in digital money accessibility.” The procedure? Straightforward. Citizens need to install the new national wallet application on their mobile devices.
Potential Economic Impact
According to Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat, this digital currency strategy will infuse the economy with a staggering 2 trillion baht (around $56 billion). The anticipated ripple effect? An impressive GDP surge of at least 5% come 2024.
Yet, it’s not all applause. Detractors point out concerns regarding the fund’s origin, with economists suggesting a hefty bill for taxpayers. Moreover, the legitimacy of the new coalition government is under scrutiny, given its military-backed appointment, despite not winning recent elections.
Towards a National Digital Landscape
Speculations hint at this blockchain move being a precursor to Thailand’s impending CBDC (central bank digital currency). Earlier in June, the Bank of Thailand collaborated with trio payment service providers for a CBDC trial. The country’s ambitions don’t stop there. A national digital ID system is in the pipeline, potentially synchronizing with retail digital wallets on a broader scale.
However, the road ahead isn’t devoid of bumps. Critics argue that such state-controlled digital finances could diminish individual privacy and fiscal liberty. The clarity on how the government plans to oversee the stipulated airdrop spending remains in the shadows.
Thailand’s blockchain venture is undeniably a bold stride into the digital future. As with all great leaps, only time will tell if it’s a step in the right direction.
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