Thai temple cryptocurrency raises concerns

The decision of a Thai Buddhist temple to issue its own cryptocurrency has raised concerns among financial regulators in the predominantly Buddhist country where monks are known to deceive worshipers for financial gain.

Wat Pa Mahayan, a monastery in the southern province of Trang, issued a cryptocurrency called Somdejcoin with over 66 million tokens available for purchase at a rate not yet specified.

The temple named its currency after Somdet Phra Buddhacaryaa, a Buddhist monk who lived in the 19th century and is still widely revered as a holy man and a miracle worker.

On its website for tokens, the temple explains in non-grammatical English that it created the cryptocurrency using blockchain technology, “so Thais and people around the world have access to the first coin. digital world, Somdej. Based on the history of Thais and Asians with a long-standing culture.

“Somdejcoin has been produced in limited quantities around the world, only 66,186,727 million tokens, which is the equivalent of Thailand’s population in 2020,” the website said, offering the wrong number for the country’s population. , which amounts to some 70 million.

“The creators want Thais to have the opportunity to collect commemorative coins and have access to Somdejcoin digital coins. At least one token for each person as a keepsake which can be a World Heritage site for future generations, ”he added.

Another scam by the temples and because they use the name of a revered monk, the Thais will fall for this scam

However, in a statement released late last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission warned interested traders and buyers against investing in the temple currency, saying the financial strength of the coins was still not not clear.

Many people took to social media to claim that cryptocurrency was a fraudulent way to trick people into sending money to the temple and making the people behind the scheme rich.

“Yet another temple scam and because they use the name of a revered monk, Thais will fall for this scam,” one commentator said. “They have nothing to do with religion – it’s all about making money with gullible Thais.”

Many of Thailand’s more than 40,000 Buddhist temples are known to engage in questionable practices of offering devotees various get-rich-quick schemes or the hope of winning the lottery through supernatural means.

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Wat Chedi, a temple in southern Thailand, has in recent years become a raffle for millions of people who have flocked to the Buddhist shrine to present votive offerings to a boy’s statue in hopes of winning the lottery.

The 10-year-old is said to have been a helper to a revered monk who lived in the 17th century until he drowned in a river and transformed into a mighty spirit that hears his worshipers.

Last year, the monastery, which was the seat of a cottage industry welcoming visitors from all over the country, began selling amulets printed with the boy’s likeness.

However, skeptics, including Thai monks, decried the veneration of the boy’s statue in the hopes of financial gain as a misunderstanding of Buddhist teachings.

A Buddhist temple “should be a place where we can seek peace of mind and find a way to purify ourselves,” observed a commentator in Bangkok.

“Even though the Buddha never told us to say no to wealth, he taught us to believe in our potential to acquire it through decent means.”

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