Laos hopes to issue its own digital currency in the near future as part of cooperation with a Japanese financial technology startup.
The Japanese company and the Bank of Laos (BOL) will begin exploring the possibility of a digital currency this month after signing a memorandum of understanding with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on studying the development of a central bank digital currency.
According to reports, Laos believes a digital currency would assist policymakers in gathering data to better understand the economy, including the amount of money in circulation at any time.
Soramitsu, the Japanese fintech firm, has already assisted Cambodia in developing its Bakong digital payments system using blockchain technology, hoping to ease the country’s dependence on the US dollar.
With China preparing to launch a digital currency next year, countries in the region appear to be researching ways to do the same.
Meanwhile, in a surprise move, the government of Laos recently authorized six companies to trade and mine cryptocurrencies, while unauthorized trading in digital currencies remains prohibited for much of the population.