The Laos government has approved a pilot program on the experimental use of cryptocurrency mining and trading in the country for six companies, the Laotian Times newspaper reported on Monday.
According to a statement issued by the country's prime ministers' office, four construction companies, an IT company and the state-owned JDB bank were granted permission to mine and trade cryptocurrency. The six firms are allowed to conduct transactions using bitcoin and litecoin.
Also, the Laos government has instructed a number of regulators, including the central bank, to develop standards for the use of cryptocurrency in the country.
Prime Minister Phankham Vipkhavanh is scheduled to hold a working meeting with the government later this week to discuss the potential of using cryptocurrency in the republic.
The move towards embracing cryptocurrencies is in stark contrast with earlier statements from Laos officials. In August, the central bank issued a notice warning citizens against using cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ethereum and litecoin, stressing that they are not connected to actual currency reserves and are not regulated by the country's legislation, which makes them highly volatile and dangerous.
According to the notice, Laotians are prohibited by law from purchasing or selling cryptocurrencies, and those who don't comply were urged to consider the risks associated with digital assets before making any investment or purchasing such products.
Laos follows in the footsteps of El Salvador and Cuba, which recently allowed the use of cryptocurrencies at the state level.
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