• Bitcoin attempts to push past daily high of USD 9,448
  • A UAE who defaulted on his crypto loan has avoided jail time thanks to the intervention of his former colleagues
  • Thai central bank to pilot CBDC payments with large-scale enterprises next month

Bitcoin markets showed some teeth in fighting the bears today, clambering back up from a threat to break critical support at USD 9,200 to now attempting to push past the daily high of USD 9,448 (CoinDesk).

But for a Friday, let us focus on some good news, where we revisit the story of the former Etihad Airlines flight attendant who borrowed USD 100,000 from the Emirates Islamic Bank to buy crypto — at the time Bitcoin was close to its all-time high.

He basically lost a lot of money when markets crashes and was unable to pay his loan when he lost his job at Etihad, cdefaulting it. And now, he has narrowly avoided being put in jail when his generous ex co-workers shelled out about a quarter of the outstanding loan.

Posting on Reddit as user u/Crypthomie, the man said his former airline colleagues had raised USD 27,400 after his story spread far and wide, leading them to easily guess who the man in the story was. He wrote:

“Hundreds of websites [wrote] articles on my situation. Eventually [they] reached my ex-coworkers who figured out who was involved as they knew I was heavy in debt and a crypto enthusiast.”

In the UAE, failing to make your repayment schedule means you are in debt, which is a criminal offence — unlike in most countries where it is only a matter for civil courts. An offence like that could land you up to three years in jail if you can’t pay back. Crypthomie reflects:

“At first I started to freak out and got very scared that my bank or the UAE government [would] find out that I made that post and enforce my possible sentence. I deleted everything to cover my back but it was too late anyway.”

It would seem that the man is not alone, though, and still has many friends. The immediate danger has passed now, thanks to the kind donations from his former colleagues but he still owes as much as USD 107,000 (due to currency fluctuations and interest). According to his own calculations he still has 12 more months of repayments at current rates worth about USD 2,230 each. Nevertheless, the man is grateful for the support and believes the stay of jail time gives him enough time to hunt for a new job:

“Their generosity is saving my wife and I big time for a couple of months and we will [be] able to look for a new job but don’t need to worry about jail anymore for now.”

We travel to Asia for more good news, where the Bank of Thailand has just put out plans to test a real use case in business for its own central bank digital currency (CBDC). Its official statement said that trials would first begin with large-scale enterprises via a partnership with Siam Cement Group and Digital Ventures Company Limited.

The pilot being next month and will conclude before the year end with SCG, using digital baht to achieve a more efficient payment method that can be flexible enough for fund transfers and faster payment settlement between suppliers. Once the pilot is over, the results should help the Thai central bank to assess its feasibility for integration of CBDC payments on other enterprise platforms.

It will be based on a wholesale CBDC payment project that the bank already completed with eight other financial institutions back in January called Project Intathon and this puts Thailand firmly on the map along with many other countries now chasing that dream of being the first to issue a fully digital form of its own national fiat money.

China does appear keen to be the first to do so, and is consistently pushing out formal updates of its own plans to do so, but could a smaller country like Thailand jump ahead of the queue?

 

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