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Thailand’s new PM Srettha Thavisin sparks talk of upcoming Web3 projects

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Web3 enthusiasts in Thailand are rippling with excitement over the country’s election of a new prime minister with extensive connections in the local digital currency sector.

Srettha Thavisin became prime minister early following an unlikely coalition between populist and pro-military parties, ending weeks of political stalemate. As political commentators heave a sigh of relief, digital currency proponents buzz over reports of a new prime minister.

Thavisin, 61, appealed to young voters in the general elections using Web3, promising a wave of initiatives to boost adoption levels. The former business executive promised voters that if elected, his government would transfer THB 10,000 (US$300) to the digital wallets of citizens above 18.

The plans indicate that people will access the funds using national ID cards, and the government expects the project to cost around THB 500 billion (US$14.3 billion).

Previous plans to roll out the initiatives fell flat after the party came in second place during the May elections, but the new coalition injected new life for the project.

“Now the situation has changed and (the party) Pheu Thai is now the core (of a new coalition),” said Deputy Secretary-General Paopoom Rojanasakul. “Today, the party would like to officially declare that it will move ahead with the digital wallet policy, using blockchain technology.”

The project offers several benefits from an economic standpoint, including a predicted GDP boost of over 2.5%. Thavisin remarked that the policy would trigger an “economic tsunami” for Thailand while shooting down claims of its potential to cause inflation.

The project is widely expected to begin in the coming weeks, with low-income earners predicted to receive the first tranche of funds. Entrepreneurs and SME owners registered in the tax system will be next in line as experts predict other blockchain technology-backed initiatives.

Before his foray into politics, Thavisin headed real estate giant Sansiri, and in 2021, the firm acquired a 15% stake in local digital currency exchange XSpring Capital.

Thailand’s toughening stance toward digital assets

Following the large-scale implosions that rocked the digital currency ecosystem, Thailand announced sweeping regulations to prevent a repeat of the black swan events.

Early in the year, the country’s securities watchdog unveiled new guidelines for service providers to establish proper risk management controls to ensure the “safety of clients’ assets.” The regulator ordered firms to conduct regular security audits, following up on its previous digital asset lending services ban.

Thai authorities have threatened to kick Facebook (NASDAQ: META) out of the country over its failure to crack down on digital currency scams as victims record losses running into millions of dollars.

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