The government of Laos gave the go-ahead for six companies to start mining cryptocurrencies in the country as part of a pilot program, the Laotian Times reported citing a government notice.
- Laos is also looking to draft regulations on cryptocurrencies, according to the report. Several ministries will be working on a consultation paper and presenting their findings to the prime minister and deputy prime minister at a Sept. 16-17 meeting.
- The companies receiving authorization to mine are Wap Data Technology Laos, Phongsubthavy Road & Bridge Construction, Sisaket Construction, Boupha Road-Bridge Design Survey, Joint Development Bank and Phousy Group.
- The mining exodus from China has created opportunity for other countries in Asia and beyond.
- The southeast Asian country issued a notice that banned crypto in 2018, and reiterated its stance in August.
- Laos is one of the smallest and poorest countries in the region, with a GDP per capita of $2,630 as of 2020, according to the World Bank. That compares with more than $10,500 for China.
- But the country is trying to become the “Battery of Southeast Asia” by building dozens of hydroelectric dams on the Mekong River. Cheap hydroelectric power in large part paved China’s way to becoming the world’s biggest bitcoin miner, prior to the crackdown.
Read more: Banished Chinese Bitcoin Miners Look to the West, and Far Beyond