Anti-Junta Groups in Myanmar Using Tether to Fund Resistance

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In Brief
  • Myanmar’s effective government in exile supporting its ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi have declared Tether their official currency.

  • The National Unity Government (NUG) officially recognized the use of Tether in its fundraising for the campaign to topple the country’s military dictatorship.

  • The NUG is an alliance between Myanmar’s pro-democracy groups and the civilian government, which was overthrown by a military junta in the spring.

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Myanmar’s effective government in exile supporting its ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi has declared Tether its official currency.

The National Unity Government (NUG) officially recognized the use of Tether in its fundraising for the campaign to topple the country’s military dictatorship, NUG Finance Minister Tin Tun Naing said in a notice posted on Facebook. 

The minister stated that the “stablecoin has been officially recognized for domestic use to streamline services and payment systems.” The decree also repealed a May 15 notice from the Central Bank, which had declared all digital currencies illegal, and threatened violators with imprisonment and fines. 

The NUG is an alliance between Myanmar’s pro-democracy groups and the civilian government, which was overthrown by a military junta in the spring. Despite lacking territory or positions of influence within the country, the group declared war on the junta in September. This contributed to a growing number of armed conflicts between local resistance groups and the military regime.

Financing the resistance

While financing the resistance against the military junta has led to the innovative adoption of stablecoins, the NUG is also seeking funding through more traditional means. Another notice on Facebook recently announced the sale of “Spring Revolution Special Treasury Bonds.” 

Through the Burmese global diaspora, the group was able to raise $9.5 million from the direct lending instrument in the first 24 hours. Although high demand led to sales suspending for a week until December 6, there has been little information about how much has been raised since then.

The NUG said it would soon be offering these bonds within Myanmar itself, amidst other plans to appoint sales representatives across different countries. While the NUG hopes to ultimately raise $1 billion from the bond sales, the military regime has said they violate counterterrorism laws. 

Earlier this month, ousted democratic leader Suu Kyi was found guilty of inciting dissent against the military. Although initially sentenced to four years in prison, this was later reduced to two.

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Nick is a data scientist who teaches economics and communication in Budapest, Hungary, where he received a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Business Analytics from CEU. He has been writing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, and is intrigued by its potential economic and political usage.

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