Thailand's Incoming Prime Minister Has Ties to Crypto – Here's What You Need to Know
Thailand's incoming prime minister Srettha Thavisin, who is known for his success in the property industry, has also been involved in the cryptocurrency sector.
On Tuesday, Thavisin was elected by the Thailand parliament to be the country's next prime minister.
The real estate tycoon was the only candidate nominated by the Pheu Thai Party, securing an impressive 482 out of 747 votes in Thailand's parliament.
Thavisin was the former president and CEO of Sansiri, one of the largest real estate developers in Thailand. The company has also made some investments in the crypto sector.
For one, Sansiri participated in a $225 million funding round for XSpring Capital, an investment management firm with a focus on digital assets.
Following the investment, XSpring launched a fully integrated cryptocurrency trading platform in 2022, with ambitions to rank among the top three companies in the crypto exchange market by 2025.
Thavisin's Sansiri has also made headlines for issuing its own token, called SiriHub Token, through XSpring in 2022.
The digital asset was part of a real estate-backed initial coin offering that aimed to distribute a total of 240 million tokens to the general public.
Therefore, Thavisin's victory is expected to impact the country's cryptocurrency industry given Sansiri's involvement in the digital asset space.
It is worth noting that back in April, Thavisin stepped down as CEO of Sansiri amidst speculation that he would soon become Thailand's prime minister.
At the time, he also relinquished his 4.4% stake in the company.
Thavisin Proposed Crypto Airdrop if Elected Minister
In April, Thavisin proposed the idea of distributing money to Thai citizens in the form of digital currency if he won the election.
The proposal included giving each individual 10,000 Thai baht (equivalent to $285) through digital means.
Back then, Paetongtarn Shinawatra, Pheu Thai's chief adviser on public participation and innovation, claimed the policy is part of a blockchain-based project designed to distribute Thai products abroad and help introduce digital currencies to Thailand.
Shinawatra said the policy is designed to make Thailand an Asian fintech hub while spurring the development of its economy.
He explained that the funds would be invested in local areas for people to use within several months after receiving them, although critics slammed the initiative for lacking transparency and not clearly outlining the funding sources.
In the lead-up to the prime ministerial vote, Thavisin took to social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter) to assert his motivations for participating in the elections is to "improve the country and the economy."
“My enemies are poverty and the inequality of the people. My goal is the well-being of all Thai people," he added.
Thavisin's ascent to Thailand's highest political office comes a few months after the country's cabinet announced tax benefits for companies that issue digital tokens for investment.
In March, Deputy Government Spokesman Rachada Dhnadirek revealed plans to provide tax breaks for corporate income tax and value-added tax for such companies.
The government hopes that this initiative will generate a staggering 128 billion baht (approximately $3.7 billion) in the next two years.