For over a year now, Vietnam has been contemplating its course of action regarding cryptocurrencies. The country lacks a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, which was causing unease within the governing bodies as the illegal use of them was increasing and several fraudulent ICOs were also uncovered by Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security and law enforcement officials. The latest development that has transpired regarding this matter is that the Ministry of Industry and Trade in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, State Bank of Vietnam, Ministry of Justice and related organizations are now considering putting a ban on the import of crypto mining hardware in order to control the exchanges being made of the cryptocurrencies.
Since the beginning of July, Vietnamese businesses and individuals have stopped importing bitcoin mining equipment. This was reported by the HCM City Customs Department. The department also mentioned that during the first half of 2018, several corporations and individuals imported a total of 3,664 cryptocurrency mining rigs. Many of them were of the ‘Antminer’ model from China, which is a brand of cryptocurrency mining equipment developed by Bitmain. Whereas last year 7,000 of these bitcoin and litecoin miners were awarded clearance. The Hanoi Customs department on the other hand sanctioned the import of 190 bitcoin miners and 350 litecoin miners.
The Vietnamese government has been dealing with this dilemma of regulating cryptocurrencies or banning them altogether. The fraudulent ICOs thieving the Vietnamese of $660 million from tens of thousands of people who bought iFan and Pincoin cryptocurrencies has only fanned the burning flame. This incident has successfully threatened to destabilize the financial system, social order and safety to all those involved in such transactions.
After this particular ICO fraud took place, the police was requested to look into this matter. Le Dong Phong, the police chief of Ho Chin Minh City made the following statement.
All cryptocurrencies and transactions in cryptocurrencies are illegal in Vietnam, We are gathering information about the case, but officially we haven’t launched an investigation until we receive accusations from any of the alleged victims.
The victims of the alleged theft took to the streets to protest against the company who had defrauded them and stole cryptocurrencies equivalent to 15 trillion dong.
Due to this incident, 32,000 people were robbed and the directives were given by the Vietnam’s prime minister to the state bank of Vietnam, ministry of public securities and other related authorities to come up with rules to effectively manage the exchange of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The government said,
Cryptocurrency investment and trading and raising money through initial coin offerings are evolving in a more complicated manner.
Vietnam, which was all set to legalize bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies last year, has now completely changed its stance over the matter. The prime minister further told the state bank of Vietnam to refrain from providing any services related to cryptocurrencies. He instructed them to investigate and prevent the illegal use of them. Furthermore, the prime minister also gave orders to the ministry of justice to draw a legal framework to deal with the digital currencies.
To conclude, the laws that have been introduced forbid the exchange of Bitcoin and several other cryptocurrencies. The central bank does not allow payments made by cryptocurrencies. A law to implicate those who fail to follow these regulations is also set in place as well as a hefty fine of up to $9,000. With the halt in the imports of crypto mining equipment and the introduction of firm and strict rules regarding the exchange of cryptocurrencies in Vietnam, it has earned a place right by China and South Korea who have shown the same contempt in the recent years.