Dam in Laos

Laos cuts off power supply to BTC miners

Two years after the government authorized BTC block reward mining, Laos is now suspending the electricity supply to the miners amid a prolonged drought.

Electricite du Laos (EDL) recently announced that it would cut off the miners, blaming the continued dry season. In its notice, the national grid operator claimed Laos experienced drought for the first six months this year. The extreme heat pushed electricity demand to new heights, all while the hydropower stations struggled to produce enough electricity for the country’s 7.4 million people.

Hydropower plants generate 95% of the country’s electricity, with the Mekong River region accounting for most of the plants. Laos also exports power to its neighbors across Southeast Asia, including 9,000MW to Thailand.

Laos is the latest country to limit miners’ access to electricity. Central Asian nation Kazakhstan cut off miners in February, limiting them to tapping the national grid only when there’s a surplus.

Kazakh miners have found a way around it, with some importing power from neighboring countries while others generate their own. It’s not yet clear if Laos will allow miners to keep operating if they employ similar moves.

Speaking to a local outlet, an unnamed employee revealed that Laotian miners’ woes go beyond the drought. This year’s bear market has rendered them unable to meet their power bills, pushing EDL to cut them off.

“Another reason we must suspend supplying electricity to cryptocurrency mining businesses in Laos is that they are unable to pay their outstanding electricity bills,” the employee said.

The financial woes were worsened by a decision by the country’s central bank to suspend loans to digital asset businesses. In February, the Bank of the Lao PDR claimed the move was to reduce risk to commercial banks and maintain financial stability in the country.

Laos’ government has been promoting BTC block reward mining since September 2021, when it legalized digital assets. The country, known for its mountainous terrain, aimed at capitalizing on the miners’ migration from China after Xi Jinping’s government’s U-turn on its digital asset stance.

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