Trying to control the ‘uncontrollable’: Vietnam pushes for Bitcoin legal framework

Vietnam’s central bank has been instructed to compile a legal framework to control Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that are not currently recognized by Vietnamese law. The government office issued the directive this week asking the Ministry of Justice and the State Bank of Vietnam to propose guidelines to help control cryptocurrencies in Vietnam. The central bank said last October that the act of issuing, supplying or using illegal means of payment starting from 2018 may be subject to prosecution for violating regulations concerning the operation of credit organizations, a crime that carries up to 20 years in jail under Vietnam’s Penal Code. However, the threat has not scared some businesses who consider it the new age of currency. Several restaurants and coffee shops in Saigon, Vietnam’s commercial center, are already accepting Bitcoin payments, and the central bank said last month that they will be punished for breaking regulations. The bank has warned organizations and individuals in Vietnam not to invest in Bitcoins or conduct transactions in the currency, saying they would be taking a huge risk with no legal protection. “Bitcoin transactions are anonymous and can be used for money laundering, drug trafficking, tax evasion and illegal payments,” it said. Around the world, policymakers are also skeptical about the currency and have warned investors to act with “extreme caution.” U.S. Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen has said Bitcoin is not money and called on banks to be certain their digital currency transactions adhere to anti-money laundering statutes. Bitcoin, the biggest… [Read full story]

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