Myanmar has declared Tether legal tender. Or rather, the shadow government that is loyal to deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi has declared that it recognizes the stablecoin as legal tender.
This is not to say that Tether will be to Myanmar what Bitcoin was to El Salvador.
Tether legal in Myanmar
As Bloomberg reports, it was the National Unity Government through Economy Minister Tin Tun Naing that declared Tether legal tender. He wrote on Facebook that Tether would be accepted for domestic use, to enable quick payments. However, not many other details were given.
This announcement is in complete contrast to the policy of the current government, which instead declared cryptocurrencies illegal last May.
The political situation in Myanmar
The political situation in Myanmar is very tense. On 1 February 2021, a military coup led by General Min Aung Hlaing deposed the government that had been democratically elected following the November 2020 elections. Burmese leader and head of government, Aung San Suu Kyi, was arrested and has since been held under house arrest at an undisclosed location, sentenced to 4 years in prison.
Peaceful protests against the coup took place throughout Myanmar. However, the coup plotters cracked down on these protests and by the end of June, more than 900 people were dead and 5,000 were in political detention.
Parallel armies to the coup’s army (Junta) emerged with which the military forces clashed in guerrilla actions. On 16 April, the Government of National Unity was formed, with members of the previous deposed government and its own army, which declared war on the coup plotters.
Tether to protect activists
The Government of National Unity is now financing itself by selling bonds, which can be found on a special website. The coup government has already hinted that buying these bonds is like financing terrorism.
This explains the choice of Tether as a means of payment: it is a cryptocurrency that keeps its value stable, so it is sheltered from volatility, but above all it guarantees more privacy and protects Aung San Suu Kyi’s sympathisers.
This is why the situation of Tether in Myanmar has nothing to do with that of Bitcoin in El Salvador, where BTC has become legal tender under a special law, and where there is no war going on.
Cryptocurrencies prove once again to be the currency of those fighting for freedom.