Asia Business Channel

Will Vietnam Legalize Cryptocurrency in 2018?

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has recently said that regulating cryptocurrency should be at the top of the banking sectors 2018 action plan and that Vietnam’s banking regulators should develop policies to regulate cryptocurrency and other types of digital assets, and mitigate the negative effects of technological advances.

Prime Minister Nguyen said, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution has brought about new issues such as cryptocurrency, which in turn creates new challenges for monetary policymakers, so the banking sector should proactively address these problems.”

The Prime Minister also noted, “During these times of fast technological development, local banks should put those tasks on top of their agenda, in addition to continuously cutting lending interest, controlling inflation and resolving bad debts. Banks should also boost the development of modern applications to catch up with the Fourth Industrial Revolution and ensure security, limit risks that come along with technology”

The Prime Minister made the remarks at a meeting to discuss the banking sector’s 2018 action plan and recommended that the banking sector develop a measures to regulate bitcoin and other digital currencies and assets. Financial experts hailed the Prime Minister’s remarks and said that they reflected the reality of a worldwide boom in cryptocurrency and reflect Vietnam’s citizen’s interest in Bitcoin and other digital currencies.

Financial and cryptocurrency experts recommend that the government move forward as quickly as possible and that it make an announcement that it will not prosecute citizens who are trading cryptocurrency in violation of a new law that came into effect on January 1st. This law criminalizes the issuance, supply and usage of cryptocurrency so the government should consider suspending this law while banking regulators make their recommendations.

In 2017, the State Bank of Vietnam outlawed cryptocurrency as a means of payment. The bank said that Vietnam’s legal cashless payment methods are bankcards, checks, collection and payment orders, and that “Bitcoin and other types of cryptocurrency are not considered as legal modes of payment in Vietnam.”

According to Vietnamese media, the government turnaround on cryptocurrency “thinking” in only 90-days reflects the reality of digital currency in a “Business 4.0” world and reflects the governments desire to control their development of in Vietnam. Business commentators noted that new regulations that allow for the legal ownership and trading of digital currencies could be in place in 90 ~ 1200 days and recommend that these regulations be drafted as soon as possible.
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