A Thai political party is campaigning on a promise to, once in power, distribute some $280 (10,000 baht) worth of digital currency to citizens.
But, what Pheu Thai Party has in mind would come with some strings attached that observers say looks a lot like programmable CBDCs (central bank digital currencies.)
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The main feature of this type of CBDCs is the use of blockchain and then the programming of expiry deadlines and geolocation-dictated restrictions into it.
Namely, the Thai recipients of such digital money – everybody older than 16 and with a digital wallet app on their phone – would not only have to spend it within six months – but also within a 4-kilometer radius of their residence.
The planned move, as reported by the Bangkok Post, is marketed by the party as an economy-stimulating measure, but also one that will serve as a basis for the digital economy to take hold in Thailand.
In line with this, and the drive to include as many people as possible into this, and similar or related schemes around the world, even those without the app would not be left out in the cold.
They, too, could get their 10,000 baht – “all” that they’d have to do in return is provide their national ID which would allow them to get a “personal code,” reports are saying.
This is not the first time the Pheu Thai Party has tried to shore up political support by introducing this idea – there was a similar push before elections in April, but the party placed second.
And now, “the programmable” digital currency handout is back in the spotlight. It isn’t certain that the party will manage to get its candidate in office, but some observers, like those from the Council on Foreign Relations, are convinced this will be the case.
And it remains to be seen if and how, should that happen, Pheu Thai Party will be able to do make good on the promise, since Thailand’s central bank does not approve of the handout, and has itself not yet introduced a CBDC – although it is testing this type of currency.
Article cross-posted from Reclaim The Net.