Bringing Tangible Value to Cryptocurrency in Thailand

Thailand has seen a great increase in cryptocurrency adoption over the past year with some describing it as “one the most interesting cryptocurrency and blockchain countries in Southeast Asia in 2018.”.

The government in particular has received a lot of coverage for its pro-cryptocurrency actions and sentiment, including the decision to use blockchain as a method of tracking VAT payments.

Crypto in Thailand

Overall Thailand’s actions and attitudes to blockchain and cryptocurrencies present a competitive edge, even when compared to other countries in South-East Asia.

Government attitudes towards cryptocurrency have been lauded such as in the Bloomberg article ‘Thailand Leads in Crypto by Skipping the Big Debate‘ in which writer Tim Culpan praised the country’s decision to approach it without distinction of ‘securities’ or ‘not-securities’. But rather as their own respective, new, form of currency with its own distinctions.

More recently, the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, Wissanu Krea-ngam has called for the increased cryptocurrency regulations. Citing the largely “the largely anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies makes it difficult for authorities to identify the bad actors.”.

Value-Added Crypto

London, UK based crypto payments company Electroneum has just announced a strategic partnership with One Development, an ‘MVNO’ provider headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand.

The relationship will see Electroneum contributing the products and protocol that have led to the company calling its proprietary ETN token as the ‘First Cryptocurrency to achieve KYC Compliance’.

As a result, ETN is to become a key payment solution for consumers of One Development: an ‘MVNA’ (Mobile Virtual Network Aggregator) that compiles MVNOs for mobile phone users in Thailand.

What Are MVNOs?

The Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) market has reportedly grown quickly over recent years and presents a lucrative opportunity in a number of markets.

An MVNO is a company which offers a unique service offering to potential users, through a partnership established with the parent operator. For example in the UK, the company GiffGaff is an MVNO that is based on the O2 Network.

A study claims that were almost 1000 MVNOs worldwide at the time of writing which collectively account for 10% of total mobile users, as well as that:

“Europe dominated the global MVNO market, followed by Asia-Pacific and North America in 2017.”

At present, there is little in the way of MVNOs which incorporate cryptocurrency into their fundamental sales processing systems. Electroneum’s ongoing efforts in the sector however are helping to turn the tides.

More About Electroneum

Electroneum is a system that aims to combine the benefits of cryptocurrency with those of mobile technology in order to achieve the greatest level of accessibility and reach. So far we have covered Electroneum in a positive light numerous times, even just within the past year, and as of posting it is still one to watch out for.

Thailand is just one of many international markets which Electroneum has entered (as well as one of many recent partnerships announced), with the cryptocurrency being listed on a South African exchange earlier this month (Artis Turba).

Additional benefits which the system offers is merchant integration of cryptocurrency payments, allowing low-fee and high speed international transactions. This will, in theory, help to introduce new revenue from other developed markets.

Thailand’s Crypto Future

You may not have heard of many of the individual projects from Thailand as a lot of the projects based there focus on the domestic market. More importantly, few if any at all appear to deliver tangible value to the country or its citizens. An example of this is the recent announcement of the clearance of a total of seven cryptocurrency companies by the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission for local operations.

This is likely a positive indicator for future cryptocurrency operations in Thailand, however upon further investigation a greater flaw becomes apparent. Five of these companies cleared are cryptocurrency trading exchanges whilst the other two are dealers. None of these companies however are seeking to use blockchain in original ways that might contribute to helping the Thai economy, or its citizens.

Conversely: in other news, the country has been progressing through an initiative called Project Inthanon, which was announced in Summer 2018. This project was created by the national central bank The Bank of Thailand (BoT) and will utilize ‘Corda’, which is a distributed ledger technology platform from R3.

Project Inthanon is building a proof of concept prototype “to enable domestic funds transfers within the country’s inter banking system”. This would be achieved through use of of CBDC tokens, a central bank digital currency for inter bank settlements.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.