Vietnam Turns its Back on Crypto Miners
Days of cryptocurrency miners are already numbered in Vietnam as the Asian country is inching closer to banning crypto miner imports, according to a local report.
State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), Vietnam’s central bank, has approved a proposal to stop the importation of the specialized mining devices because the country has already restricted the use of digital currencies to pay for products and services. The decision, based on the report by Viet Nam News, is a reply to the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s (MoIT) plan released in June.
Earlier, the SBV said in a statement that virtual currencies are not a “lawful means of payment” and that it prohibits the issuance, supply, and use of bitcoin and the like effective January this year.
“This came in response to an official letter from the MoIT asking for SBV’s coordination in research and comments on the management of cryptocurrencies in the country, in which the MoIT proposed to temporarily ban the machine imports,” the article said.
At that time, the MoIT stated it has become difficult for local officials to enforce the prohibitions on cryptocurrencies since crypto miners are not included on the list of barred imports.
The proposal was released upon the request of the Ministry of Finance two months ago which called for a temporary suspension, noting a clampdown by authorities over an alleged $660 million crypto fraud, as well as an order from deputy prime minister Trịnh Đình Dũng mandating the SBV, MoIT, Finance ministry, and other related ministries and agencies to evaluate imports of crypto mining machines.
“Vietnam imported over 6,300 rigs, or application-specific integrated circuit devices used to mine digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, in the first four months of this year,” A Xinhua report said in June, quoting the General Department of Vietnam Customs. The report added over 9,300 rigs were imported into the country, mostly into Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh.
The Finance ministry had immediately reviewed cryptocurrency-related issues in Vietnam, which earlier mentioned that crypto mining equipment are excluded on its list of products banned from importation and excluded on the items under unsafe products.
“However, the use of mining equipment for bitcoin, litecoin and other cryptocurrencies in the country is difficult for the authorities to manage. Thus it is easy for people to use cryptocurrencies as a currency or another method of payment, which is illegal in Việt Nam according to the amended Decree 101 on non-cash payments,” the report explained.
Prior to these developments, the country, through its central bank, issued in 2014 a stern warning against bitcoin and blocked financial institutions from providing any services related to cryptocurrencies. Also, ownership and trading of digital currencies such as bitcoin poses many risks since these virtual assets are protected by existing laws.
The warning also touched on the warnings released by other nations including China, France, Indonesia, Malaysia, Norway, Russia, and Thailand, stressing the bitcoin-linked frauds are everywhere in the world. However, the statement did not cite some of these countries at that time had opted to not impose any restrictions on virtual currencies.