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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