South East Asia is buzzing with Bitcoin but the governments of some countries are still reluctant to join the party with the Lao PDR becoming the latest after Vietnam to warn off potential investors.
Despite models such as South Korea and Japan to fall back on, it appears that Laos is not convinced. Just recently neighbor Vietnam warned industries not participate in “any issuance, transaction or brokerage activities related to cryptocurrencies”.
Lao has followed suit it appears with its central bank’s Transaction System Management Department warning commercial banks, businesses and members of the public not to buy, sell or use cryptocurrency for money transactions, “as this practice is illegal”. The statement was released according to sources close to the department as due to a lack of checks and balances being in place the regulation of cryptocurrency transactions was currently impossible.
The rules also extend to the passing on of information to clients concerning any investment involving cryptocurrencies, and banks have further been warned to monitor customers’ account behavior to look out for crypto transactions. Credit card and debit card purchases of cryptocurrencies are also forbidden
Cryptocurrency is relatively new to Laos, so is little understood. Last year Vientiane Money Exchange became the first certified Bitcoin exchange in the Southeast Asian nation. Neighbouring Vietnam has a more vibrant crypto industry despite its own government’s warnings. However, a recent planned innovative collaboration between Vietnam’s first exchange and Swiss-based blockchain company Kronn Ventures AG could be in jeopardy if Hanoi holds to their own similar prohibitive stance.
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