- Srettha Thavisin, leader of Thailand’s opposition Pheu Thai Party, pledges to distribute 10,000 Thai Baht (approximately $300) in digital currency to every citizen if his party wins the May election.
- The proposed crypto airdrop aims to alleviate high household debt and stimulate economic growth in Thailand, but faces legal hurdles due to the 2021 ban on Thai Baht stablecoins.
- Critics question the effectiveness of a crypto airdrop as an economic stimulus, suggesting that funds might be better used for poverty alleviation programs.
As Thailand’s general election approaches, a unique campaign promise by the opposition party, Pheu Thai, has caught the public’s attention. The party’s leader, Srettha Thavisin, a real estate mogul turned candidate, has pledged to distribute 10,000 Thai Baht (approximately $300) in digital currency to every citizen if his party emerges victorious in the May election. While some see the promise as an innovative approach to economic stimulus, others dismiss it as a mere marketing gimmick.
The Crypto Airdrop: Aiming for Economic Relief and Growth in Thailand
Thavisin’s proposed crypto airdrop forms part of a basic-income-style economic stimulus package designed to alleviate the burden of high household debt experienced by many Thai citizens. With Thailand grappling with some of the highest levels of household debt in the region, Thavisin believes the current government’s financial assistance approach, which he likens 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 economic growth.”
Legal Hurdles and Financial System Implications
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.
The Pheu Thai party’s crypto airdrop promise 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.
An Uncertain Future for the Crypto Airdrop Proposal
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. However, regardless of the outcome, it is clear that cryptocurrency is increasingly becoming a significant factor in political campaigns across Asia.
As the Thai general election nears, the fate of the proposed crypto airdrop hangs in the balance. If it comes to fruition, it could mark a new era of economic stimulus and digital currency adoption in the country. On the other hand, concerns over the legality, financial implications, and the potential for vote-buying may overshadow the proposal’s potential benefits.