Myanmar Democracy Group Seeks to Establish a Tether Following the Failure of the Myanmar Dollar Project

When Myanmar’s military took control of currency supply in 2021, civilians flocked to the stablecoin Tether for peer-to-peer transactions and cross-border transfers.

Myanmar’s recent military coup resulted in a victory for the stablecoin Tether. The National Unity Government, a democratic coalition, has backed the use of Tether as a means of resisting military control. Tether is a stablecoin whose value is fixed to the US dollar. Finance Minister Tin Tun Naing said on Facebook that “[Tether] has been formally acknowledged for domestic usage with the goal of streamlining services and payment systems.” This overturned a central bank notification proclaiming all digital assets to be unlawful and threatened to prosecute offenders.

In February 2021, the military seized control of the nation. After the military declared the democratic parliament members elected in 2020 null and invalid, the National Unity Government (NUG) was founded. The NUG has a number of former legislative members. Tether may prove to be a useful weapon against the military, which is now responsible for issuing the country’s fiat currency.

Tether enables unmonitored transfers and acts as a substitute for the kyat’s fiat currency. The kyat fell precipitously from its peak of 1300 kyat to the dollar. It plummeted to 1800 kyat to the dollar when the military gained control of the nation.

In November 2021, the NUG released zero-interest bonds to fund its operations, allowing Tether to be used for bond transactions. Initially, the Myanmar diaspora was urged to acquire the bonds, a move the military said breached counterterrorism regulations.

When the military seized control, public officials and bank personnel laid down their tools in a show of civil disobedience. This resulted in lineups forming in front of ATMs as residents hurried to withdraw cash.

An unidentified organisation launched the Myanmar Dollar digital asset last year (MYD). It sought to free people by empowering them to handle their own assets in the absence of a centralised monetary system. 55% was to be donated to residents and 45% to the NUG to finance new companies. The MYD stopped operations in December 2021, with the closure of its website. According to a local information technology expert, the organisation “failed to establish a market,” and residents who supported the project were unable to get MYD.

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