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ECONOMYBANKING & FINANCE

Use of bitcoin as means of payment to face criminal procedure from next year

Updated at Monday, 30 Oct 2017, 09:19
The Hanoitimes - The generation, distribution and use of cryptocurrencies including the bitcoin can face criminal procedure from January 1 next year according to Vietnam’s laws.
In a statement released on website of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) on October 28, SBV states that cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin is not legally eligible for transactions in Vietnam as it is not a lawful means of payment under the Criminal Code revised earlier this year.
The increasingly-popular bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not yet recognized as means for cashless transactions in Vietnam, the central bank cited the existing legislation as saying.
“According to cited laws, the bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies are not lawful means of payment in Vietnam. The generation, distribution and use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as means of payment are all banned in Vietnam,” the central bank said in the statement.
Accordingly, violators can be imposed fines worth between VND150 million (US$6,600) and VND200 million ($8,810) or even can face criminal procedure from next year.
 Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not yet recognized as means for cashless transactions in Vietnam.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not yet recognized as means
for cashless transactions in Vietnam.
The move was made after privately-run FPT University earlier last week announced that it was conducting a pilot plan to allow foreign students to pay fees with the bitcoin.
Previously in July, the SBV sent out a document clearly stating its non-involvement in managing bitcoin on the Vietnamese financial market, as this particular cryptocurrency is not a payment method according to the SBV.
This official document also stressed that since bitcoin and litecoin are not legal tender or legitimate currency, the acts of initial coin offering, generation, and use of such cryptocurrency as means of payment in place of legal tender are all prohibited with established sanctions.
The SBV stated that such prohibition is to keep investors safe against the speculative nature of cryptocurrency, especially when there has been a reported surge in the number of bitcoin mining rigs imported to Vietnam, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs (GDVC).
Bitcoin was first introduced to Vietnam in 2009, and has since experienced double-digit growth each year in terms of users, and an average daily transaction value reaching the thousands of US dollars, according to Bitcoin Vietnam Co Ltd, the self proclaimed first bitcoin platform in the country, established in 2014.
The bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are becoming popular in Vietnam, with some service providers accepting them in transactions. However, they are all used in trading and speculation in the unofficial market.
The use of cryptocurrency in Vietnam is currently limited to just one per cent of the total population, though experts anticipate that the number could grow to 30 million users in the next ten years.
​Phuong Thao
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