Tech

Ed Drake

Vietnam calls for import ban on crypto mining rigs

In a bid to stop the alleged free flow of cryptocurrency mining equipment into the country, the Ministry of Finance in Vietnam has called for an outright ban on the import of the mining rigs. The news follows a high profile fraud case, the single largest instance of cryptocurrency fraud in the country to date, which saw some 32,000 victims lose out on over $656 million.

As detailed in Document 5964 / BTC-TCHQ, the report referred from the Ministry of Finance to the Prime Minister, the current lack of import restrictions allow technology for mining BTC coin, litecoin, and a host of other cryptocurrencies to flood into the country, much of which is impossible for authorities to detect.

According to local media reports, “…from there, it is easy for people to use [cryptocurrencies] as a currency or another method of payment,” a situation which contradicts “the amended government Decree 101 on non-cash payments.”

Local news platform Zing.vn spelled out the ease with which the current situation allows individuals and businesses to import mining equipment: “According to the Ministry of Finance, mining machines are not on the list of goods banned from importation and are not subject to the list of specialized management or unsafe goods, so enterprises are easily allowed to complete the import procedures.”

During the period 2017 to the first half of 2018, estimates show as many as 15,600 crypto mining machines have been imported into the country, 6,300 coming in the first four months of 2018 alone.

Ostensibly, the finance ministry said the measures were required in order to protect investors, drawing specific reference to the Pincoin case, which remains big news amongst investors in Vietnam.

According to the ministry, the measures were necessary to allow “state management agencies to take strict control measures with the import and use of this commodity.”

The developments follow in the wake of a new directive pioneered by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, designed to give the authorities there more control over the “management” of activities around the cryptocurrency space.

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