Thailand’s parliament recently elected Srettha Thavisin, a prominent real estate tycoon, as the country’s next prime minister. Thavisin, who is renowned for his previous role as the president and CEO of Sansiri, one of Thailand’s largest real estate developers, also has some involvement in the cryptocurrency industry. Thavisin secured his victory as the sole candidate nominated by the Pheu Thai Party, receiving 482 out of 747 votes in Thailand’s parliament.
This election outcome could have significant implications for the cryptocurrency industry in Thailand, given Sansiri’s active investment in the country’s digital asset sector. In April 2023, Thavisin stepped down as the CEO of Sansiri amid speculation that he would assume the role of Thailand’s next prime minister. Concurrently, he also divested his 4.4% stake in Sansiri.
Sansiri made headlines in 2021 when it participated in a $225 million funding round for XSpring Capital, an investment management firm with a focus on cryptocurrencies. Following this investment, XSpring unveiled a fully integrated cryptocurrency trading platform in 2022, with ambitious plans to become a top-three company in the crypto exchange market by 2025.
Notably, Thavisin’s Sansiri also issued and distributed its own token, the SiriHub Token, through XSpring in 2022. This digital asset was part of a real estate-backed initial coin offering (ICO) that offered a total of 240 million tokens to the general public.
Interestingly, Thavisin joined the Pheu Thai Party in November 2022, which, in April 2023, proposed the distribution of money to Thai citizens if it won the election. The proposal aimed to give 10,000 Thai baht ($285) to each individual, with the amount disbursed using digital currency.
With Thavisin’s government expected to assume office by the end of September, it remains uncertain how his crypto-related background will influence Thailand’s cryptocurrency policies. This development comes shortly after Thailand’s cabinet decided to provide tax breaks for corporate income tax and value-added tax for companies issuing investment tokens. The government anticipates that investment token offerings will generate 128 billion baht ($3.7 billion) over the next two years.
Days before his election, Thavisin took to social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter) to emphasize his commitment to “improve the country and the economy” by participating in the election. He proclaimed, “My enemies are poverty and the inequality of the people. My goal is the well-being of all Thai people.”
Thailand’s move towards embracing and regulating cryptocurrencies aligns with similar trends seen worldwide. However, it remains to be seen how Thavisin’s leadership will shape the future of the crypto industry in the country.