Category Archives: laos

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Lao PDR Central Bank Gets Tough on Crypto

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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Thai Movie Theater Chain to Take Digital Currency as Government Opens for Crypto Business

Thailand’s largest movie theater chain has given the green light to its clients for paying for their moviegoing with cryptocurrency according to Bitcoin.com.

Major Cineplex has reported that it plans to integrate cryptocurrency into its current payments system in partnership with Swiss payment company Rapidzpay.

There are currently 143 theaters in the Thai chain throughout the country, the largest being the Paragon Cineplex in capital Bangkok. The company also screens in Cambodia and Laos with plans to increase its total screens in the South East Asia region from 678 to 1,000, according to Forbes.

The massive ParagoCineplex, with 16 screens and 5000 seats, is in the center of a major upmarket shopping hub surrounded by restaurants, an art gallery, a concert hall and numerous retailers. Merchants will be able to use the Rapidz point of sale system which will accept both cryptocurrency and fiat payments. The currencies available for payment have not been announced although the current Rapidzpay app accepts BTC, BCH, and LTC.

The signing of the deal at the Paragon Cineplex was clearly not by chance due to its location within a major retail and service hub. Chanya Tamrongweenichai, the director of marketing at the group commented that:

“Rapidzpay will expand to our other businesses and lead the change for Thailand’s financial ecosystem to be cashless… You’ll be able to buy any services and products from us, such as movie tickets, popcorn and other different products with cryptocurrency.”

The Swiss payment firm has said that it has targeted a million Thai users in its first year in the country hoping that both established crypto users and newcomers to cryptocurrency will realize how convenient this method of payment is.

The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is currently proactive in allowing to cryptocurrencies to be used as a form of payment for goods and services in the country. Currently, the following seven cryptocurrencies are earmarked for official recognition for trading purposes: BTC, ETH, BCH, ETC, LTC, XRP, and XLM.

The SEC’s secretary-general, Rapee Sucharitakul, reflected the nation’s new flexible approach to digital currency when he stated this week:

“…the SEC is (now) open for application approval for operating a digital asset business, as the Finance Ministry’s announcement on digital asset licenses has come into force.”

 

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First Certified Bitcoin Exchange Launches In Laos

Vientiane Money Exchange has become the first certified Bitcoin exchange in the Southeast Asian nation of Laos. It is headquartered in the capital of Laos and is planning on installing Bitcoin ATMs across the country starting on 1 July 2018 with deposit and withdrawal functionality.

The exchange and ATMs will facilitate the use of seven currencies including Bitcoin, Unit (a universal currency), USD, RUB, THB, SGD, and the local fiat currency Lao Kip (LAK). This will provide a one-stop shop for foreign exchange services, and provide a direct link between fiat and Bitcoin in the Laos economy, helping Bitcoin become an easily usable currency in the nation.

It is excellent news for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general that Laos now has an official Bitcoin exchange, since neighboring countries have imposed harsh regulations on cryptocurrency activity. China has banned cryptocurrency trading, forcing major exchanges Huobi and Binance to flee the country. Vietnam has completely banned all cryptocurrency activity, going as far as stopping the import of cryptocurrency mining equipment.

The Vientiane Money Exchange has the potential to be a breath of fresh air for the economy of Laos. The primary stock exchange of Laos, the Lao Securities Exchange, only has seven listed companies with a relatively minuscule daily volume of LAK 503 million LAK (USD 60,000).

It is certainly possible that the Bitcoin volume of the new exchange could exceed the volume of the entire stock exchange. Worldwide, there are billions of USD of Bitcoin trading volume daily, it would only take a tiny fraction of this to invigorate the economy of Laos.

 

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