Myanmar’s first entirely crypto-based banking institution, the Spring Development Bank, is set to have a soft launch on July 22. This move is expected to provide the country’s shadow government, known as the National Unity Government (NUG), with greater access to financial services and funding. The bank, constructed on the Polygon blockchain, aims to make domestic and international payments faster and more efficient while offering a wide range of financial products. It also targets not only the 55 million Burmese residing in Myanmar but also the two-million-strong Burmese diaspora who frequently send money back to the country.
The decision to utilize cryptocurrencies was seen as the most suitable option to provide financial support to both the Burmese citizens and the exiled NUG. While the Spring Development Bank was not directly launched by the NUG, it enjoys full support and resources from the opposition movement. Moreover, the bank is licensed and regulated by the NUG-controlled interim central bank of Myanmar.
Calvin T, the CEO of the Spring Development Bank, emphasized that the establishment of this institution marks the initial step towards restoring financial freedom in Myanmar. Tin Tun Naing, the governor of Myanmar’s interim central bank and acting minister for finance and industry, described the bank as “revolutionary” and a necessary alternative to the military-controlled financial system, which is currently falling apart.
To address the high fees associated with traditional means of sending money back to Myanmar, the bank plans to issue fiat-pegged stablecoins such as the Myanmar kyat, Thai baht, Singapore dollar, and the U.S. dollar. These stablecoins can be exchanged through the bank’s “currency swap” feature, built on UniSwap V3.
However, supporting the NUG in Myanmar is not without risks. Residents who show support for the opposition government are often subjected to violence and imprisonment by the ruling military junta. Understanding this, the Spring Development Bank has designed its user interface as a web-only platform, encouraging users to access it using the incognito mode of their web browsers to ensure privacy and security.
It is worth noting that in December 2021, the NUG declared Tether (USDT), a U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoin, as legal tender in an effort to facilitate international trade. Despite being officially recognized as the legitimate government of Myanmar by several international entities, including some members of the United Nations and the European Parliament, the exiled government has yet to receive recognition from the United States.
The launch of Myanmar’s first crypto-based bank, backed by the NUG, holds potential in providing financial services and funding to Burmese citizens and its diaspora. As the country continues to navigate political instability, the Spring Development Bank offers a promising alternative for individuals seeking a secure and efficient financial system.