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Laos: $190M from bitcoin mining

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Bitcoin mining will increase Laos' projected revenue for next year by 20 per cent compared to the target for 2021, according to the finance minister. PIXABAY

Laos: $190M from bitcoin mining

The Lao government expects to earn two trillion kip ($190 million) in revenue from bitcoin mining – the first time such revenue would be earned from the mining and trade of the digital currency.

This new revenue source would contribute to the 28.963 trillion kip in total domestic revenue projected for 2022, Minister of Finance Bounchom Ubonpaseuth told the second ordinary session of the National Assembly’s (NA) 9th legislature on November 1.

Presenting the 2022 draft budget plan to the session, the minister said the new source of revenue would increase the projected revenue for next year by 20 per cent compared to the target for 2021.

The expected revenue from the digital currency comes after the government recently gave the green light to six companies to trial a programme to mine and trade cryptocurrency in Laos, including Bitcoin.

The six companies are Wap Data Technology Laos, Phongsubthavy Road & Bridge Construction Co Ltd, Sisaket Construction Co Ltd, Boupha Road-Bridge Design Survey Co Ltd, the Joint Development Bank, and the Phousy Group.

The Ministry of Technology and Telecommunications has been entrusted to work with the Ministry of Finance, Bank of the Lao PDR, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Energy and Mines, Ministry of Public Security, and Electricite du Laos to draft legislation relating to the mining and trading of the cryptocurrency.

The projected increase in revenue of 3.754 trillion kip (compared to 2021), including 2.000 trillion kip earned from the mining of Bitcoin, would enable the government to spend more on priority programmes.

These include increasing supporting allowances to cover the living expenses of officials and security force personnel, expenditure on efforts to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak, and the payment of debts.

The minister told NA members that domestic revenue accounts for 15 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

In addition, the government expects to receive 2.460 trillion kip in foreign grants, accounting for one per cent of GDP.

The government is projected to spend 34.595 trillion kip in total over 2022, including 6.750 trillion kip on projects financed by loans and grants. Total spending is forecast to increase by 3.011 trillion kip compared to 2021 and account for 18.14 per cent of GDP.

VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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