Thailand and Vietnam have surpassed Singapore as the top crypto trading centers among the ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Nikkei reports that according to data provided on Wednesday by blockchain data company Chainalysis, the two ASEAN members reported over USD 100 billion in crypto trade values between July 2021 and June 2022.
“Users in lower-middle and upper-middle income countries often rely on cryptocurrency to send remittances, preserve their savings in times of fiat currency volatility,” Chainalysis said.
“These countries also tend to lean on bitcoin and stablecoins more than other countries.”
The company says that Thailand and Vietnam observed a surge in traffic to marketplaces for non-fungible tokens, which grant their owners ownership of objects such as virtual art pieces on blockchain, which are decentralized digital ledgers that power the cryptocurrency industry.
Thailand saw USD 135.9 billion in crypto value last year, while Vietnam traded USD 112.6 billion. Singapore, by comparison, recorded only USD 100.3 billion in revenue because its financial regulator is in the process of developing laws to enhance monitoring over retail trading of such tokens, which it opposes.
But with global prices climbing as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this year, and the US Federal Reserve reining in rising costs through interest rate hikes, investors have fled riskier assets such as cryptocurrency.
Laos launched a cryptocurrency mining operation in Champasack Province in May this year in a partnership between Thailand’s United Power of Asia and Laos’ AIF Group.
The country’s Minister of Finance said last year that he believes the mining of cryptocurrency could net almost USD 2 million for the economy in 2022.