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Jun 05, 2018 / 15:44

Vietnam to suspend importing cryptocurrency mining rigs

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has proposed a temporary ban on the import of mining rigs, citing the exploitation of those machines for launching new currencies or a new form of payments as reason.

The issue would then violate the government's decree No.101 on non-cash payments. 
Cryptocurrency mining rigs.
Cryptocurrency mining rigs.
Mining rigs currently are not included in the list of goods banned from import, said the MoF, however, using cryptocurrencies as means of payment is prohibited. "As of January 1, 2018, the act of issuing, providing, and using illegal means of payment (including Bitcoin and other cryotocurrencies) may be subject to criminal prosecution in accordance with the provisions of Article 206 of the Penal Code 2015," the State Bank of Vietnam said in a  statement released last October. 
The ministry referred to the allegedly fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO) of Ifan and Pincoin cryptocurrency in April, when 32,000 people lost VND15 trillion (US$658 million) in "Vietnam's largest cryptocurrency fraud". To avoid similar cases, it is thus required to have stricter regulation on the import and use of these types of machinery. 
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in early April urged greater vigilance against cryptocurrency transaction and investments. In a directive, the PM requested the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), the Ministry of Public Security and other bodies to tighten the "management of activities related to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies."
Virtual currencies, as commonly known in Vietnam, especially Bitcoin, have sparked a worldwide fever. In Vietnam, the Bitcoin drew significant attention despite experts' repeated warning about its risks and the lack of a management framework.
As a ministry-level body under the administration of the government responsible for managing monetary policies, supervising financial institutions and the country's foreign reserves, SBV urged citizens and enterprises to restrain from making transactions in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. 
Given their extreme volatility and lack of regulation, cryptocurrencies in general and Bitcoin in particular carry potential risks to investors. On the other hand, as claimed by SBV, Bitcoin transactions are anonymous and can be used for money laundering, drug trafficking, tax evasion, and illegal payments.
In 2017, more than 9,300 rigs were imported into Vietnam, of which 2,300 machines were imported to Hanoi and some 7,000 to Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs. 
The number of mining rigs to Vietnam in the first four months soared to over 6,300, mainly to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.