Vietnam is banning cryptocurrencies, subjecting offenders to fines and even criminal charges by 2018.
The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) announced the ban on Saturday just after a private university declared that it accepts Bitcoin payments.
Cryptocurrencies are illegal under Article 4 of Vietnam’s Decree No. 101, which lists checks, payment orders, collection orders and other instruments prescribed by the State Bank as legitimate non-cash payments.
Those who violate the law will be fined between 150 million Vietnamese dong ($6,575) and 200 million Vietnamese dong ($10,959), pursuant to Article 27 of Decree No. 96. They may also be prosecuted beginning January 2018.
The ban comes as the State Bank completes the development of a legal framework for cryptocurrencies approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in August.
It also follows an announcement from FPT University President Le Truong Tung, who said on Thursday that the institution “accepts tuition payment in Bitcoin,” Tuoi Tre News noted.
Tung told the outlet that Bitcoin payments are a “feasible solution” for international students, citing those especially from Nigeria as facing difficulties in transferring money.
Following the ban’s announcement, Tung commented from the State Bank’s view (via Bitcoin News):
“If Bitcoin is accepted it will be difficult to control: tax evasion, illegal transfers, payments, financing of illegal transactions will arise and thus state management of money, the economy will become very complex.”
How it affects the university’s current policy for foreign students, however, is unclear.
“Suppose that FPT University has a program of exchanging and accepting bitcoin value instead of tuition fee, which is not the use of a means of payment, it is difficult to punish them,” Tung said.
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