The Lao government’s pilot project to explore cryptocurrency mining and trading is expected to bring in roughly $194 million to the country’s total domestic revenue projected for 2022.
According to a Tuesday report from Malaysian news outlet The Star, the Lao government’s recent bid to capitalize on China’s crypto mining crackdown may be netting the country 2 trillion Lao kip — roughly $194 million at the time of publication — in revenue from six firms. The companies in the public-private mining pilot program officials approved in September include Wap Data Technology Laos, Phongsubthavy Road and Bridge Construction, Sisaket Construction Company Limited, Boupha Road-Bridge Design Survey, Joint Development Bank, and Phousy Group.
The government reportedly said the funds would increase the expected revenue for the National Assembly’s draft budget in 2022 by 20% that of 2021. Lawmakers plan to use the extra revenue for “priority programs,” including paying down the national debt and responding to the pandemic.
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While the Lao government granted six companies permission to mine crypto, the country’s central bank has issued more than one warning over the years advising residents of the risks associated with unregulated crypto assets, which are still largely illegal in Laos. However, Bank of the Lao P.D.R. is reportedly looking into the development of a central bank digital currency partnership with Japanese distributed ledger technology firm Soramitsu.