Cambodia’s government issued a statement to the public today on 19 June 2018 that essentially bans cryptocurrency in the Southeast Asian nation. The statement was signed by the National Bank of Cambodia, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia, and the General-Commissariat of National Police, and says that using cryptocurrency without a license is illegal.
However, there is no information available on the cryptocurrency license, so for the time being, it appears to be illegal for Cambodians to engage in cryptocurrency activity. Anyone who buys, sells, trades, settles, or propagates cryptocurrency in any other way, which would include mining, is breaking the law and will face severe penalties.
The statement says using cryptocurrency without regulation causes risk to the public since cryptocurrencies are not backed by collateral. It says cryptocurrency investments may result in losses due to volatility, is subject to a high rate of hacking and theft, and has no mechanism to protect customers who use them since cryptocurrency payments are irreversible. It also says cryptocurrency users can be anonymous which helps terrorists and criminals launder money.
Clearly, Cambodia’s government has a negative view on cryptocurrency based on this statement, and since there are no details and no timeline given for the cryptocurrency license, this could prove to be an outright ban of cryptocurrency activity in Cambodia.
Cambodia’s neighbors, China and Vietnam, have also taken skeptical views towards cryptocurrency. China banned all cryptocurrency trading and initial coin offerings in September 2017, forcing some of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world to flee the country. Vietnam has been working towards a total ban of cryptocurrency, first by saying all non-cash payments are illegal and then banning the import of cryptocurrency mining equipment.
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