Laos pushes into crypto as it authorises mining and trading

Laos has authorised the mining and trading of cryptocurrencies, in a policy shift by the debt-laden south-east Asian nation that positions it to profit from the crackdown on digital currency mining in China.

Analysts said the move was a logical step for the landlocked, communist-ruled country of 7m, which produces a surplus of hydroelectric power, but some warned that criminal gangs could seek to profit from the trade.

The crypto push marks an about-face after the country’s central bank last month warned banks, companies and people against using cryptocurrencies. The office of the prime minister this week said six companies, including construction groups and a bank, had been authorised to begin mining and trading cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, ethereum and litecoin.

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John Reed