Thailand Confirms $14.3B Digital Wallet Scheme Despite Potential Delay

Thailand Confirms $14.3B Digital Wallet Scheme Despite Potential Delay

Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the ambitious $14.3 billion digital wallet handout scheme despite acknowledging the possibility of a delay in its implementation.

According to local reports, the Thai Prime Minister confirmed the potential disbursement delay in a press conference on Friday. Notably, the digital wallet program seeks to stimulate the country’s sluggish economy, covering 50 million people. Each is expected to receive 10,000 in local baht, equivalent to $280.

The 50 million Thai citizens will receive the payments through a mobile app. However, it is yet to be disclosed whether blockchain technology, such as CBDCs or cryptocurrencies, would facilitate the digital wallet cash dole. Besides, the country has proven its welcoming approach to digital assets, with prominent platforms like Binance securing clearance to operate.

Meanwhile, the digital wallet program has faced scrutiny and concerns over its funding model, with critics deeming it fiscally irresponsible. On the other hand, Prime Minister Thavisin asserted in the Friday press conference that the government possessed data supporting the project’s viability.

He assured the public that the implementation would be carefully managed through a transparent process without corruption. Yet, Thavisin failed to provide a specific launch date. While the government scheduled its initial launch in February, officials disclosed that the rollout might be postponed beyond May.

It is worth mentioning that the Thai government is set to incur a 500 billion baht expense for the cash dole. This lumpsum is equivalent to approximately $14.3 billion. According to Prime Minister Srettha, the funding will be secured through a single, one-time borrowing.

Additionally, Thavisin mentioned that the administration intends to allocate 100 billion baht to a capacity-building fund to foster automation and industrial innovation.

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