The last months have seen several Asian countries ease their cryptocurrency regulations, with South Korea regulating cryptocurrency exchanges as commercial banks, and the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, endorsing blockchain technology as a ”technology revolution”.
However, those who were hoping that the days of cryptocurrency-averse Asian countries were behind us seem to be sorely mistaken, as Vietnam has reportedly implemented a fresh ban on cryptocurrencies.
Earlier this week, Vietnam’s State Securities Commission of Vietnam (SSC) is to have announced that firms are forbidden from engaging in any sort of cryptocurrency-associated activities.
Furthermore, the official state news agency in Vietnam, Viet Nam News, reports that the SSC now requires companies in the country to seize any involvement with cryptocurrency-related ventures. This includes public companies, fund management companies, securities investment funds and securities companies.
In addition to this, relevant institutions were instructed not to engage in ”any issuance, transaction or brokerage activities related to cryptocurrencies”. They were also reminded that they need to adhere to all applicable regulations concerning anti-money laundering.
This ban comes several months after which Vietnam’s prime minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, signed a directive which instructed several ministries, the nation’s central bank and several law enforcement agencies to implement measures aimed at cryptocurrency or Bitcoin-related activities.
This directive came in response to two ICO scams which reportedly affected approximately 32,000 Vietnamese residents, scamming these out of a whopping $660 million. Nonetheless, this cryptocurrency ban is not entirely unexpected, as Vietnam has a history of anti-cryptocurrency regulations and statements from officials.
The SCC has previously issued a notice to asset managers and brokerages, calling for these to avoid partaking in cryptocurrency transactions until when a legal framework has been developed and publicly released.
Moreover, last week saw Vietnam’s State Bank agree with a proposal from the nation’s government to halt imports of ASIC cryptocurrency mining rigs.
In addition to this, the start of 2018 saw the introduction of new regulations which outlawed the use of cryptocurrencies as a means of payments in the country. Anyone violating this regulation could also expect fines which reach a staggering $9,000.
This latest cryptocurrency ban, however, might prove to be the straw which broke the camel’s back, effectively eliminating any hope of a reversal in government policy regarding cryptocurrencies.
It remains to be seen whether Vietnam will be swayed by increasingly positive views on cryptocurrencies and blockchain from around the world, but current hopes for any improvement of the situation in Vietnam are slim indeed.
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Rasmus Pihl is a writer for Toshi Times by day and an avid follower of the blockchain industry by night. Rasmus holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the Gothenburg School of Business, Economics, and Law and runs a Swedish marketing consulting firm. Moreover, when he isn’t writing for Toshi Times, traveling, working or changing the world in some other capacity, Rasmus is more than likely caught up in postgraduate studies.