Prime minister prepares to embrace bitcoin legalization in Vietnam

It may have been a long time coming, but Vietnam is finally ready to get on board the cryptocurrency train.

On Friday, Vietnamese news agency VNA reported that Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved a plan to examine and “streamline the legal framework” for managing digital currencies like bitcoin in the country.

The plan seeks the input of relevant ministries and institutions, including the State Bank of Vietnam, the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Justice, who are tasked to “provide a comprehensive assessment and propose suitable solutions and revisions” in the current legal framework.

The ministry officials have until August 2018 to complete the assessment, with all legal normative documents on the currencies ready by the end of next year, according to the announcement.

By June 2019, the ministries are expected to have finalized an application for the compilation of a legal framework on taxes for digital currencies, followed by proposals for prevention and handling of digital currency-related violations by September of the same year.

The prime minister’s approval is a sign that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin will be recognized legally in Vietnam, opening up opportunities in financial technology and online payments in the country.

Vietnamese lawmakers admitted the country is behind other countries when it comes to defining and regulating digital currencies, which is needed especially now that electronic payments and e-commerce are booming in popularity in Vietnam. However, the government was concerned that bitcoin will be used for money laundering activities, or even buy illegal weapons and arms, and enable corruption and bribery. Additionally, state regulators were worried that bitcoin transactions will make it difficult for the government to collect taxes, resulting in losses to the budget revenue due to tax evasion.

If all goes according to the prime minister’s plan, Vietnam will soon join countries like the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Japan and Canada, which have already built legal frameworks and policies to manage business operations that deal with digital currency.

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