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Vietnam Moves to Suspend Importation of Crypto Mining Devices

The State Bank of Vietnam has agreed with a proposal by the ministry of trade and industry to temporarily ban the importation of cryptocurrency mining machines such as Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) in the country, local news outlet, Vietnam News reported on July 19.
The importation ban was first initiated by Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance earlier in June. Afterward, the Ministry of Industry and Trade also proposed the ban in an official letter.
In that light, the ministry of finance had to emphasize the exclusion of crypto mining devices from the list of items restricted from importation. It claimed that was difficult to place any limitations on crypto related activities in the country. Therefore, import firms were allowed to carry out the importation processes.
In recent times, several Vietnamese authorities have continued to scrutinize the cryptocurrency sector, and this appears to be a direct result of a nationwide ICO-related scam that allegedly duped about 32,000 local investors of over $660 million.
Due to the severity of the ICO theft, Vietnam’s prime minister directed the finance ministry and five other government ministries including the central bank to look into the alleged ICO scam.
The finance ministry reportedly contended that “it requires State management agencies to take strict control measures with the import and use of this [crypto mining] commodity,” under its directive. This triggered the Finance ministry to propose the temporary ban on the importation of machines that are capable of mining digital currencies.
According to a local report, data from the Vietnam Customs Service reveals that the country imported more than 9,300 Graphic Intensive integrated circuit devices in 2017. As at April 2018, Vietnamese citizens had already imported about 6,300 GPUs, most of them going to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Vietnam was initially thought to be making moves to suitably adopt and legalize cryptocurrencies in 2017. However, that is yet to happen as many stakeholders are waiting for the outcome of the government decision on the subject.
In October 2017, the State Bank, which is Vietnam’s central bank, moved to restrict the use of cryptocurrencies as a mode of payment by excluding from the official list of authorized non-cash payment methods in the country. The use of digital currencies became a punishable offense by law as adopters, and users of virtual currencies were subject to prosecution and fines between VND 150 – 200 million which is about 8,900 USD.

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