After MasterCard and Visa suspended Russian users from credit card payments, Thailand is examining other payment options to help users from the country alongside Ukrainian tourists to execute transactions. Local news outlets reveal that Thailand considers allowing Russians and Ukrainians to transact in crypto.
Phuket Tourist Association disclosed it had contacted Thailand’s central bank to allow tourists from Russia and Ukraine to make crypto payments. Its President said that crypto would suffice at this time pending when fiat payment transactions via credit cards are restored.
Crypto Payments Will Be Pivotal
Thailand authority in charge of tourists TAT disclosed that four proposals were submitted to the cabinet on Tuesday to address the ongoing situation between Russia and Ukraine, which were affecting its citizens. The proposals included providing alternative payment, visa fee waivers, tourist accommodation, and tackling insurance issues.
More than 7000 tourists from Russia and Ukraine are stranded in Thailand across various cities. With restrictions placed on fiat transactions, crypto serves as the only payment option.
Right from time, digital currencies are known to provide an alternative route in executing transactions. It has been demonstrated in many ways, including the current Russian–Ukrainian, where the government called for crypto donations.
When protesting against the government’s Covid-19 strict rules, Canadian truck drivers requested donations in virtual currencies to bypass the government’s restrictions on fiat. In the case of Thailand, cryptocurrencies will play a pivotal role in solving the problems of stranded tourists.
Thailand Intends to Solve Tourists’ Accommodation Issues
Among the proposals sent to the cabinet was the issue of accommodation. Thailand has promised to provide accommodation to tourists who can’t return to their countries due to the unrest and paused flights.
However, Ukrainian tourists willing to travel back to their homes will have a visa fee waiver. It implies they can travel without paying visa fees.
According to reports, about 30% of the Russian market passes through the Middle East. Due to the sanctions affecting exchange rates and the cost of goods, it may have no other option than to annul its trips.
Digital currencies have emerged as a lifeline for Russian and Ukrainian stranded tourists in Thailand. This could extend to other countries with Russian and Ukrainian tourists, but they have to be wary of sanctions from the West.
On banning Russians from using crypto, Coinbase emphasized it was impossible because there was no law backing it. Kraken made this same statement when asked if it would abide by sanctions from the West. It’s apparent some exchanges want to remain neutral in the ongoing crisis.
Sanctions from the United States and its allies have hit Russia’s economy hard. Russia’s currency, Ruble, has shed over 30% of its value in the market, with various stock exchanges shying away from trading it.