Thailand’s next prime minister Srettha Thavisin has crypto history

Thailand’s parliament on Aug. 22 voted for real estate tycoon Srettha Thavisin to be the country’s next prime minister. Thavisin is best known as former president and CEO of Sansiri, one of the largest real estate developers in Thailand, which also has some cryptocurrency background.

Thavisin, 60, was the only candidate brought to elections by the Pheu Thai Party, receiving 482 votes out of a possible 747 in Thailand’s parliament.

His victory could potentially have some implications for the cryptocurrency industry in Thailand as his family company, Sansiri, was an active investor in the country’s digital asset industry. Thavisin quit as Sansiri CEO in April 2023 amid speculation that he would be named Thailand’s next PM. He also shed his 4.4% stake in Sansiri at the time.

In 2021, Sansiri participated in a $225 million raise for a crypto-friendly investment management firm XSpring Capital. Subsequently, XSpring launched a fully integrated cryptocurrency trading platform in 2022. The firm plans to become a top-three company in the crypto exchange market by 2025.

Apart from backing major crypto projects in Thailand, Thavisin’s Sansiri is also known for issuing and distributing its own tokens through XSpring in 2022. Called “SiriHub Token,” the digital asset is part of a real estate-backed initial coin offering (ICO) which offered a total of 240 million tokens to the general public in 2022.

The Pheu Thai Party — which Thavisin joined in November 2022 — also previously proposed distributing some money to Thai citizens in case it wins the elections. The party specifically promised to give the country’s citizens 10,000 Thai baht ($285) in April 2023 and send the amount using digital currency.

As Thavisin’s government is expected to assume office by the end of September, it remains to be seen whether his crypto-related background would impact Thailand’s crypto policies.

Related: Thailand threatens Facebook over crypto scams and other fraudulent ads

Days ahead of the vote, Thavisin took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to stress that he was participating in the elections because he wanted to “improve the country and the economy.” He added:

“My enemies are poverty and the inequality of the people. My goal is the well-being of all Thai people.”

The news comes a few months after Thailand’s cabinet decided to offer tax breaks for corporate income tax and value-added tax for companies that issue investment tokens. Announcing the initiative in March, deputy government spokesman Rachada Dhnadirek said that the government expects investment token offerings to generate 128 billion Thai baht ($3.7 billion) over the next two years.

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