Vietnam’s Finance Ministry Proposes Import Ban On Crypto Mining Equipment

News, Regulation | June 6, 2018 By:

Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance (MoF) has proposed a temporary blanket ban on the importation of cryptocurrency mining equipment.

In the recently released report, the MoF said that the mining rigs were being used to try and create new currencies and forms of payment that were difficult to regulate.

“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,” the ministry said.

According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the country imported over 6,300 rigs, or application-specific integrated circuit devices used to mine cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum, in the first four months of this year. In 2017, more than 9,300 mining rigs were imported into Vietnam, most of which went to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi capital.

The ministry said that the use of mining equipment for bitcoin, litecoin and other cryptocurrencies in the country is difficult for the authority to manage. It also referred to the allegedly fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO) of Modern Tech, a Vietnamese IT firm, in April. The allegations claim that 32,000 investors were swindled out of VND15 trillion ($660M USD) through sales of two ECR-20-standard tokens, Ifan and Pincoin.

The ministry said protecting the Vietnamese people from similar scams in the future “requires state management agencies to take strict control measures with the import and use of this commodity.”

“To prevent other possible events, in the immediate future, the Ministry of Finance proposed to apply the import suspension measures for the above types of mining equipment,” the ministry said.

Currently, all transactions in cryptocurrencies are illegal in Vietnam. In October 2017, the central bank announced that from January 1, 2018, “the act of issuing, supplying, and using illegal means of payment, including bitcoin and other similar cryptocurrencies, may be subject to prosecution.” Those providing “unlawful means of payment” (cryptocurrency) may also be subject to a minimum fine of 150 million dong ($6,600 USD).

In April of this year, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan signed a directive to strengthen “the management of activities related to bitcoin and other virtual currencies.” He also ordered the Ministry of Justice to complete the legal framework for managing and dealing with digital assets.