The Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade has banned organizations and individuals involved in e-commerce businesses in the city from using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to settle transactions online, in a document issued to relevant parties on April 13.
The document cites government decrees on non-cash payment instruments, emphasizing that “the issuance, supply, use of Bitcoin and similar virtual currencies is prohibited in Vietnam.” Violations are subject to a “fine of between VND 150 mln ($6,608) and 200 mln ($8,810) for individuals and organizations.” Furthermore, as of January 2018, issuing and using cryptocurrencies “may be subject to criminal prosecution.”
The directive followed reports of what could be the largest crypto fraud in history ($658 mln) if proven true, involving the alleged defrauding of 32,000 investors by two ICOs headed by a Vietnam-based outfit. Police are currently investigating the case.
An outright ban on using crypto as a means of payment has been in place in Vietnam since 2017, but the Ministry of Justice is now looking to flesh out a more robust and extensive regulatory framework following the Prime Minister’s orders.