Thailand's Digital Wallet Scheme Feels Like CBDC Lite

Thailand’s new leading party plans to proceed with the promised $300 national airdrop. However, the tokens will come with specific time and geographical limits, making the project very similar to central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

Funds Must Be Spent in a 4km Radius And Within 6 Months

The Thailand government, led by the recently elected crypto-friendly Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, is planning to move forward with its plans for a national digital asset airdrop; however, not in the manner many have initially expected.

Namely, the Pheu Thai party-led government is working on a “digital wallet” scheme under which each Thai resident aged 16 or older can receive 10,000 bhatt ($286) in digital money. Notably, the assets, which are expected to serve as digital utility tokens, will have to be spent within 6 months in stores for buying goods and services and within 4km of a citizen’s residential location. Furthermore, the tokens cannot be converted into cash or used for settling debts.

As demonstrated, the new scheme outlines several limitations for the proposed airdrop, some of which were not known upon its first mention. During his candidacy period, Srettha promised that if elected, he would provide a $300 crypto airdrop to all citizens who are 16 and older.

Thailand’s Digital Wallet Scheme

However, with the newly proposed geographical and time restrictions, the move resembles a CBDC airdrop. This is primarily because the tokens are government-controlled assets to stimulate the country’s economy.

“Spending from the “digital wallet”, which it is estimated to cost the taxpayer about 560 billion baht, will help stimulate the national economy, with the expectation that it will put as much as 1.68 trillion baht back into circulation, said the source.”

– the TBPS report stated.

Meanwhile, the reports revealed that the digital funds are allegedly seen as “utility tokens” that will be used as a means of payment for the planned scheme. The reports also said the scheme will be based on a blockchain ecosystem, which will take several months to develop. Specifically, the scheme is not expected to be launched earlier than 6 months.

According to local reports, the financing for the digital scheme is expected to be sourced from multiple channels in the 2024 fiscal year. These sources include a projected increase of 260 billion baht from tax collection, approximately 100 billion baht from higher tax revenue due to economic growth, 110 billion baht from the state budget, and around 90 billion baht from the welfare budget.

This article originally appeared on The Tokenist

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