According to a top spokesman for the State Administration Council, Myanmar’s military administration aims to establish a digital currency to assist domestic payments and stimulate the economy within the year and is evaluating how to proceed.

“We are unclear whether we should undertake it as a joint venture with local enterprises or by the government alone,” said Major General Zaw Min Tun, the junta’s deputy communications minister. “A digital currency will aid Myanmar’s financial activities.”

Myanmar’s GDP fell 18 percent in the fiscal year that ended in September 2021, according to the World Bank, and is expected to expand only 1% this year through September. According to a research released last week by the International Monetary Fund, Myanmar’s GDP might have grown by 30% without the epidemic and coup.

The proposal from the State Administration Council comes just two months after a group led by supporters of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi designated Tether as a “official currency” for use in a fund-raising campaign to overthrow the military administration. Suu Kyi is currently incarcerated on a variety of accusations.

Central banks around the world have been developing digital currencies for years, with some expecting to use them for retail transactions and others deciding to use them only for interbank operations. China, which has one of the most sophisticated digital yuan projects, has been working on it since at least 2014.

At a news conference last week, Kim Edwards, the World Bank’s chief economist for Myanmar, said, “We believe the government is not in the best position to pursue something like this.” To make it happen, he argued, it would take a strong regulatory system and a lot of administrative ability.

“At this time, we are still learning about digital currencies and conducting discussions,” Win Myint, director-general of the Central Bank of Myanmar’s currency-management department, said. Both the advantages and disadvantages must be considered.”

Myanmar isn’t the only country considering cryptocurrency initiatives. A bill to establish conditions for digital-currency transactions was accepted for consideration by the Venezuelan National Assembly last month. According to a Bloomberg index, inflation in bolivars, the local currency, has slowed to 53 percent annually in the last three months, down from far north of 1,000 percent in recent years.