Friday, 2024 March 1

Daily Digest | Another day, another dollar

Hiya. Brady here.

Even before the February coup, Myanmar’s military—the Tatmadaw—wielded incredible control over the country’s economy and was entrenched in practically every business sector. After the military took over, many people in the country engaged in boycotts.

The move made sense. If demonstrations in public areas drew gunfire and beatings, then a private, nonviolent response of voting with one’s wallet was a form of resistance in which anyone could participate.

But what about the contents of those wallets? The monetary policy related to Myanmar’s currency, the kyat, is shaped by those in power—leaders of the junta and bankers who are ex-military, according to the individuals behind the Myanmar Dollar Project. The project’s MYD digital token came into existence one month after the coup and is a “free, instant, and eco-friendly third-generation cryptocurrency to support democracy in Myanmar.”

We unpacked how the project was put together and where it might go. Check out our article here.

Even though internet connections are far from stable in Myanmar, people have utilized these channels in ways we never expected to see. Just look at the Zoom diplomacy that the government-in-exile is engaged in, or the web-based education initiatives filling the gap (if only partially) where teachers and students boycott regular classes.

These are all bold moves made by scrappy people who have limited resources. Is there anything more innovative than that?

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