Thailand’s next prime minister Srettha Thavisin has crypto history

Thailand’s next prime minister Srettha Thavisin has crypto history

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

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

His victory could potentially have implications for the cryptocurrency industry in Thailand, as 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 let go of his 4.4% stake in Sansiri at the time.

Former Sansiri CEO Srettha Thavisin. Source: AP News

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 hopes 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 token through XSpring in 2022. Called SiriHub Token, the digital asset is part of a real estate-backed initial coin offering that offered a total of 240 million tokens to the general public in 2022.

In April 2023, the Pheu Thai Party — which Thavisin joined in November 2022 — proposed distributing money to Thai citizens if it won the election, specifically giving people 10,000 Thai baht ($285) and sending the amount using digital currency.

With Thavisin’s government expected to assume office by the end of September, it remains to be seen whether his crypto-related background will 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 baht ($3.7 billion) over the next two years.

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