Myanmar’s first fully crypto-based banking institution has announced a soft launch for July 22 – a move that could give the country’s shadow government greater access to financial services and funding.
Spring Development Bank is named after the Spring Revolution, an opposition movement led by the National Unity (NUG) of Myanmar’s government-in-exile against the ruling State Administration Council (SAC), a military junta that took control of the country in February 2021.
The bank’s target demographic is not only the 55 million Burmese living in Myanmar, but also the two million strong ‘Burmese diaspora’, who live and work outside Myanmar and regularly send money into the country.
Built on Polygon, the main goal of the bank is to make domestic and international payments faster and more efficient, as well as provide international access to a wide range of financial products.
A Spring Development Bank official, who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons, told Cointelegraph that crypto was the obvious solution for providing financial support to both Burmese citizens and the government-in-exile.
“Spring Development Bank and the blockchain technology powering it are a natural progression in terms of NGG’s fundraising strategy.”
The new crypto bank was not launched directly by NGG, but the official said that it has been launched with full support and resources. Furthermore, the bank is licensed and regulated by the NGG-controlled Interim Central Bank of Myanmar.
The bank’s CEO, known as Calvin Tee for security reasons, told Cointelegraph that the launch of the new institution was the first step towards returning financial freedom to Myanmar.
Myanmar’s Interim Central Bank Governor and Acting Finance and Industry Minister Tin Tun Naing described the bank as a fundamentally “revolutionary” institution.
“We cannot transfer money only to the banking system controlled by the military, so we need to provide this alternative financial system that is based on trust and guaranteed by the government.”
Ning claimed that the military-based financial system was “collapsing” and that the Spring Development Bank would help secure financial assets for civilians.
The fees currently charged for sending money back to the country the traditional way can reportedly be as high as 30%.
“Everything was built on Polygon, for cost reasons, but also because we thought the Polygon ecosystem had the potential to survive in the long run,” explains the official.
The bank will issue several new fiat-pegged stablecoins, including the Myanmar kyat, Thai baht, Singapore dollar, and US dollar. Users can link these assets to the bank’s “Currency Swap” facility, built on Uniswap V3, which enables the exchange of stable coins.
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In Myanmar, residents who express support for the NGG – which could be as simple as having the wrong app on their phone – are routinely “made examples” of public displays of violence and imprisonment, the official said.
Hence the User Interface of the Bank has been designed as a ‘web-only’ platform.
“The bank’s interface will look and feel like an application, but we encourage everyone to access it through our own incognito window so that no browser history is saved,” the official explained.
On December 31, 2021, NGG declared the stablecoin tether (USDT) pegged to the US dollar to be legal tender in an effort to accelerate international trade.
The NGG was formally recognized as the official government of Myanmar in October 2021 by the United Nations and several members of the European Parliament. However, the United States has yet to officially recognize the government-in-exile.
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