Laos’ pro-crypto miner policy backfires during severe drought

Laos, which had previously initiated regulations to formalize and encourage crypto mining and trading, is changing tactics during the bear market


Melnikov Dmitriy/Shutterstock, modified by Blockworks


State-run Electricite du Laos (EDL) revealed last week it will withdraw electrical supply to domestic crypto mining operations, marking a stark deviation from its pro-crypto stance in 2021. 

The sudden change underscores the challenges Laos faces as it grapples with a severe energy crisis exacerbated by drought conditions, local media reported Saturday.

EDL is responsible for overseeing the country’s electricity production, transmission and distribution infrastructure. It also handles the import and export of electrical power through the country’s national grid.

In November 2021, Laos initiated regulations to formalize and encourage crypto mining and trading. The move was seen as an attempt to seize on a vacuum left in the wake of China’s crackdown on crypto mining.

Issued by Minister of Technology and Communications Boviengkham Vongdara, the rules stipulated crypto businesses be entirely Lao-owned, financially stable and required to deposit a $5 million security with the Bank of Laos — the nation’s central bank.

The regulatory framework also incentivized energy consumption in crypto mining, setting a minimum usage of 10 megawatts, to be supplied by EDL under a renewable six-year contract. It even provided exemptions on electricity transmission fees and import taxes for the state-owned supplier.

Now, in the wake of extreme drought that has severely impeded the nation’s hydropower plants responsible for 95% of the country’s electricity, EDL has reprioritized its power allocation.

The move aims to bolster local electricity supply while also earmarking large volumes for export to Thailand’s Electricity Generating Authority ahead of the region’s dry season next year.

This policy reversal also follows the government’s acknowledgment of unmet debt obligations within the crypto-mining sector, per the reports.

An abrupt shift casts doubt on Laos’ strategy for balancing the growth of emerging technologies with pressing infrastructural needs, including the consistent provision of electricity to both its domestic population and export markets.

Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.


Upcoming Events

Hilton Metropole | 225 Edgware Rd, London

Mon - Wed, March 18 - 20, 2024

Crypto’s premier institutional conference returns to London in March 2024. The DAS: London Experience: Attend expert-led panel discussions and fireside chats Hear the latest developments regarding the crypto and digital asset regulatory environment directly from policymakers and experts.

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Research report - cover graphics (1).jpg


In this report, we dive into crypto private market data to gather insights on where the future of the industry is headed. Despite a notable downturn in private raises, capital continues to infuse promising projects that aim to transform payments, banking, consumer experiences, community, and more, with 2023 being the fourth-largest year for crypto venture capital.


The results mark “a major positive inflection point,” one analyst says, as the exchange carries net income momentum into a crypto rally


While the slate of 10 US spot bitcoin funds have tallied $4.6 billion of net inflows thus far, half of the field is lagging the leaders


Trading volumes totalled $154 billion in Q4, including $125 billion in institutional volume


DeFi on Bitcoin is all the rage right now and Stacks is positioned to benefit


The Boston Globe reports that lawyer John Deaton is weighing a possible bid


Ethereum’s Dencun upgrade will enable Uniswap v4 to optimize smart contracts for complex functionality