Bangkok, Thailand – By the time the ax fell on China’s largest cryptocurrency mines, Thai businessman Pongsakorn Tongtaveenan was ready for action – urgently buying the necessary computer processors to take Bitcoin online and ship it to Southeast Asia. “Chinese miners have removed their machinery and the price has dropped by 30 percent,” Pongsakorn told Al Jazeera. Prices have now returned to more than $ 13,000 for “miners” – a computer-solving computer that frees up Bitcoin prizes from the internet.
However, Pongsakorn, 30, could sell hundreds of units across Thailand as small players jump into cryptocurrencies while China cracks in a profitable market.
In September, Beijing banned all cryptocurrency trading and mining Among the concerns that real money was “producing illegal and criminal activities” and jeopardized the “economic and financial system”.
The crackdown forced some of the world’s largest Bitcoin mining companies to seek new foundations and friendly rules and requirements for cooking cheap electricity to run thousands of computers during the day.
Large-scale immigration projects in the United States – especially Texas – Malaysia, Russia and Kazakhstan among other countries.
But for small-scale miners who want to cut faster and run for fear of offending the Chinese tyrannical regime, the most important thing was to reimburse their useless computers.
This created opportunities for traders like Pongsakorn, who were close to firing unwanted weapons – particularly Bitmain Antminer SJ19 Pro – from Shenzhen to Thailand.
“Bitcoin is the gold of the digital world. But mining is like gold mines: you are paid profits based on the price of gold,” he said.
Pongsakorn’s products have boosted mining companies all over Thailand, with an average earning of $ 30-40 per day on any racing machine.
“There are about 100,000 Thai workers now,” he said.
Their groups include people who are chasing steady income during the epidemic, as well as investors who believe in the future of digital assets.
“The moment China banned crypto, we were thrilled,” a Bitcoin enthusiast turned to the mine, who runs an electronic power processor from his garage in eastern Thailand, told Al Jazeera.
To start with an estimated $ 1 million baht ($ 30,000), he found a way to connect.
“I did it all in three months,” said one miner, who asked not to be identified.
Many Thai retailers are keeping an eye on neighboring Laos, which is keenly interested in the rise of crypto currencies.
The poorest, well-known communist country of 7.2 million people has an online access rate of 43 percent, according to a 2020 survey conducted by online and social networking experts We Are Social and Hootsuite.
But the advantage is the amount of cheap electricity generated by most mega-dams.
“More than 95 percent of the electricity generated is for export, so the extra ones should be used possibly by a huge government damage,” Laos crypto law expert told Al Jazeera, asking not to be named.
“They see an opportunity to turn that money into millions of dollars.”
In November, the communist government opened up crypto and commercial mines by issuing licenses to six major, well-coordinated Lao companies.
The preliminary terms of the permit include a $ 5m guarantee for any company planning to sell crypto, while mining operators must register to purchase about $ 1m of electricity from the Lao government grid annually and pay a high operating fee.
“Laos has a problem with geography and a shortage of people,” David Tuck, a colleague of Lyriant Advisory in Bangkok, told Al Jazeera.
“It requires a lot of money in the state coffers and it has very few options to raise money.”
Laos dams, often in debt, generate electricity for their neighbors, including Thailand, which lacks foreign power.
“New demands from home buyers may be welcome,” Tuck said.
But any Chinese miners planning to cross their southern border to shut down Laotian cheap electricity would still have easy access to Beijing.
“They have been working behind the Chinese court,” Tuck said.
‘Enemy of states’
Some people are afraid crypto benefits will go to only a handful of affiliated companies. The rules favor “the most banned group in Laos,” a Laos crypto legal expert said. “It is not open to the people of Laos, consumers in Laos.”
In Thailand, one of the most unexplored regions in Asia, it is the richest people who make the rules in playing big crypto games even though small businesses support the Chinese remaining mines.
In November, part of Thailand’s oldest bank, Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), paid $ 537m to buy 51 percent of shares in BitKub, Thailand’s largest crypto exchange. Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn owns 23 percent of the SCB.
With regulators allowing Thais to sell digital currency easily, BitKub seeks to lower the fees for millions of home-based clients, and is eager to become the largest Southeast Asian platform.
For some Thai crypto enthusiasts, the release of BitKub seems questionable as an attempt to establish a pre-existing financial system.
“The goal of Bitcoin was to become an ‘enemy of nations’ … but the rich took over,” said the miner, who spoke on condition of anonymity. If you can’t fight this, you can just jump.