Tech 20 July 2018

Erik Gibbs

Vietnam’s central bank says no to crypto mining rig imports

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has decided that no more cryptocurrency mining machines are needed in the country. The bank has agreed with a Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) proposal suggesting the suspension of the importation of the machines in a bid to improve the country’s currency transaction management. While the proposal only put forth a temporary ban, it is unclear if it will be converted into a permanent one.

The MoIT sent a letter to the bank, asking for its assistance with research on how to best manage cryptocurrencies in the country. The letter also asked for the ban to allow time for current legal regulations to be reviewed. The ministry is seeking input not only from SBV, but also all relevant agencies and ministries.

According to Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance (MOF), cryptocurrency mining rigs are not on any prohibitive list, nor are they banned from being imported. This has allowed for a number of enterprises to import the machines without issue. At the same time, the lack of appearance on any list also makes managing the devices difficult for authorities and this results, in the MOF’s estimation, in a number of individuals being able to use crypto as a currency. The practice is illegal in the country in accordance with Decree 101, which covers non-cash payments.

The MOF also cited a case involving Modern Tech Corp., which has been accused of fraud of more than $656 million. The company had introduced two crypto investment schemes, Ifan and Pincoin, ultimately trapping over 32,000 investors.

The ministry pointed out that state management agencies have the obligation of protecting the Vietnamese citizens from similar frauds and other scams, and must implement strict controls over the importation and use of cryptocurrency mining rigs.

As a result of the issues surrounding cryptocurrency and mining, the MOF first proposed a temporary ban on the importation of mining rigs in May in order to help protect consumers. As it stands, there are already 15,600 of the rigs in the country, all imported between early 2017 and April 2018.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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