Myanmar shadow government approves use of stablecoin Tether

Sule Pagoda Road, Yangon, Myanmar. Photo: Arkar Phyo/Unsplash

Myanmar‘s shadow government said it would allow the use of the world’s largest stablecoin, Tether, as an official currency, potentially making it easier for it to raise funds and make payments.

The National Unity Government (NUG), which comprises pro-democracy groups and remnants of Myanmar‘s civilian administration that was ousted in a military coup earlier this year, has been seeking to raise funds for its “revolution” to topple the ruling military junta.

The junta has outlawed the NUG and designated it a “terrorist” movement.

Tin Tun Naing, the NUG’s minister in charge of planning finance and investment, said in a Dec. 11 Facebook post the NUG would officially recognise USD Tether and this would enable better and faster transactions.

Tether can be transferred in a similar way to other cryptocurrencies like bitcoin making it hard for governments and other authorities to track or prevent payments.

However, its value is officially pegged to the U.S. dollar and so remains stable, unlike most other cryptocurrencies.

Tether has a market value of $76 billion, and following criticism and suspicion about the value of the assets underpinning the stablecoin, the company – also called Tether, publishes regular reports by auditors of its reserves.

Since the coup, Myanmar‘s banking and financial system has been in turmoil as opposition groups try to stifle the military’s efforts to consolidate power by encouraging people not to pay taxes and to join protests, a civil disobedience campaign and boycotts of army-linked businesses and a national lottery.

Meanwhile the NUG is shut off from official access to finance, and last month it began selling bonds, to largely Myanmar nationals overseas to raise funds.

In the months following the coup, Myanmar‘s banks ran short of cash, and the local currency, the kyat fell by over 60%.

Advocates of Tether say its use by the NUG underscores the advantages of payment methods that are hard for authorities to trace.

However, stablecoins have come under scrutiny by financial regulators in developed economies, partly for this same reason, as they fear their widespread use in an unregulated environment could undermine financial stability.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.