Laos is the next Southeast Asian to hop on the cryptocurrency bandwagon in the latest wave of digital assets adoption in the region.

Singapore’s Southeast Asian neighbour, Laos, have authorised a handful of local companies to trade and mine cryptocurrencies within the country.

According to The Laotian Times, the land-locked ASEAN nation has received a notice from the Prime Minister’s Office on 9th September that approves six companies to mine and trade Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin in a new cryptocurrency trial.

The companies that have been given the green light include Wap Data Technology Laos, Phongsubthavy Road & Bridge Construction Co., Sisaket Construction Company Limited, Boupha Road-Bridge Design Survey Co., Ltd., Joint Development Bank, and Phousy Group.

In addition, the notice assigned the Ministry of Technology and Communications to lead the project, while collaborating with other government bodies such as the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of the Lao PDR, and the Lao Electric Power Enterprise to draft out regulations governing the trial.

What makes Laos suitable for cryptocurrency mining is its vast number of hydroelectric dams located along the Mekong river. The country is open about its ambitions to be the ‘Battery of Asia’, and over 50 dams have been constructed in the past 15 years alone.

Yet due to lax safety concerns and environmental damage, Laos have faced criticism from Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia about the impact of rampant construction projects, especially when energy supply far outstrips that of the demand for electricity. Such calls have only grown louder with the disastrous collapse of the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy dam in 2018.

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