Vietnam is inching closer to stopping all imports of cryptocurrency mining equipment according to a local news outlet. This possibility is now at its closest after several months of deliberation among various ministries and agencies. The latest is that the central bank has agreed to a proposal by the Ministry of Industry to ban all imports, according to Vietnam News.
The bulk of the importers were businesses although individuals were involved. More than 3000 units were imported since the beginning of this year per Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department. The imports have dropped drastically from around 15,000 units imported in 2017.
Majority of these were imported by just four firms. Most of them were Antminers, the popular line made by Chinese manufacturer Bitmain Technologies.
Cryptocurrency regulation is still a dicey subject in Vietnam and many investors are still uncertain about its exact legal status.
The highest office instructed various agencies including the police to investigate various scams related to ICOs earlier in the year. Investors lost an estimated $600 million to scams according to some estimates.
The government has been mulling about the ban as a possible option for some time now, a suggestion that has long received backing from the State Bank of Vietnam.
The Ministry of Industry had proposed the ban in June 2018 noting that it was difficult for authorities to enforce existing restrictions on virtual currencies.
Currently, Vietnam does not recognise cryptocurrencies as a form of payment. Authorized forms of payment include payment orders and cheques. People using cryptocurrencies to make payments risk criminal charges at the moment. Cryptocurrency payments were outlawed late 2017 as interest in the assets hit new highs across the world.
The Prime Minister then tasked the central bank, the Ministry of Industry and the Ministry of Finance to provide guidance on the importation of cryptocurrency miners. Authorities fear cryptocurrencies like bitcoin could undermine the local currency and fuel criminal activities