The government of Laos has given the green light for six firms to mine and trade cryptocurrency in the country, ending a three-year ban, according to a government notice cited by The Laotian Times.
The Southeast Asian government had outlawed cryptocurrency in 2018 and repeated its stance in August of this year. However, as part of a pilot program, Laos is seeking to develop its cryptocurrency laws.
Indeed, six businesses have been permitted to test mining and selling cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC) in the country while relevant ministries are drafting laws controlling its usage.
Ministries working together over regulations
The Bank of Laos (BOL) and Electricite du Laos are working with several ministries to develop cryptocurrency usage regulations, with the ministry of technology and communications leading the way.
It is expected that the findings from the study and consultation will be considered during the forthcoming Prime Ministers’ Meeting on 16 and 17 September.
In fact, the Bank of Laos had only warned the public last month against the usage of unregulated cryptocurrencies since they are not tied to actual currency reserves.
Laos taking advantage of Chinese mining restrictions
However, it appears Asian nations and other countries in Latin America are taking advantage of the mining exodus from China following the Chinese government clampdown.
Before the crackdown, cheap hydroelectric power helped China become the world’s largest Bitcoin miner. Laos hopes to become the “Battery of Southeast Asia” by developing hundreds of hydroelectric dams on the Mekong River.
Though the authorities have warned people against trading in digital currencies, many people continue to do so and believe that the trial program will lay the foundation for full legalization.