Bitcoin only for the rich?
Amid varying national policies on cryptocurrency, Thailand seems to have found one of the least popular paths to tread.
Today at Cointelegraph, Osato Avan-Nomayo reports on backlash from a proposed Thai regulation establishing a 1 million baht “minimum annual income” standard for investing in cryptocurrency.
What this means, in plain English, is that the country would restrict certain kinds of cryptocurrency opportunities to individuals with a net worth of at least 1 million baht.
That’s like saying that US millionaires, or Americans with comfortable nest eggs of $100,000 or so in liquid assets, can buy attractive cryptocurrency assets, but people in average working households cannot.
It goes counter to everything that people think in Western democracies about fairness and a level playing field, and social mobility. It would create even more of a walled garden of inherited wealth and elite privilege, at a time when such privilege is out of control according to so many economic studies and glimpses into the lives of working people.
In addition, according to Avan-Nomayo’s story and other sources, Thailand is a place where various banks and institutions have already begun to experiment with cryptocurrency, and where Thai localities tempt Japanese tourists interested in the cryptocurrency sector.
However, that does not mean that greater crypto involvement is not strictly limited, especially for the common citizen. A look at cryptocurrency development in Thailand shows that only a few certain exchanges are greenlighted. Binance, for example, has access to tile and through the Satang company, which has a rare license to operate in Thailand, but Coinbase does not.
Eventually, according to Avan-Nomayo, Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol, secretary-general of the Thai SEC, walked back comments about establishing an annual income requirement.
“I proposed the criteria that many considered too tough to prompt people to express their opinions on the matter and did not intend to say these are the exact qualifications that will be implemented,” Suwanmongkol reportedly said.
Let’s hope that sort of mentality doesn’t take root elsewhere in the world – as fintech can either empower the unbanked, or promote consolidated social ranking and wealth inequality.