The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), Vietnam’s central bank, has officially ruled that cryptocurrencies are banned as a payment method of in the country.
The SBV has completed developing a legal framework for cryptocurrencies in the country following previous orders by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc issued earlier this year.
In a newly released notice today 30 October 2017, the SBV listed the recognized exceptions among non-cash payment methods approved by the authority. They include traditional payment mechanisms such as checks, payment orders and bank cards (credit and debit). Bitcoin isn’t among them and is, by default, being ruled as an illegal payment instrument.
An excerpt from the central bank’s statement read:
According to the terms of the law, Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are not lawful means of payment in Vietnam; The issuance, supply, use of bitcoin and other similar virtual cryptocurrencies as a means of payment is outlawed in Vietnam.
The legislation is unclear regarding cryptocurrency mining and cryptocurrency exchanges operating in Vietnam.
The central bank’s official stance is now contrary to previous reports that alleged the Prime Minister’s impetus to push for a framework was toward legalizing cryptocurrencies. As announced in August, the intended plan at the time was to release legislative drafts to sanction cryptocurrencies by August 18 ahead of tax guidelines for adopters in mid-2019.
Furthermore, today’s notice also revealed details of fines and the possibility of further prosecution for cryptocurrency adopters.
The authority said:
Use of illegal means of payment (including Bitcoin and other similar virtual currencies) will be subject to a fine of between VND 150 million and 200 million [approx. $9,000]. At the same time, as of January 1, 2018, the act of issuing or using an illegal means of payment (including Bitcoin and other similar virtual currencies) may be subject to prosecution.
Do note that the SBV stance isn’t a full ban on cryptocurrencies in Vietnam or Indonesia and only applies to their use of payment instruments.