Vietnam’s ministry of finance has made an official proposal to ban the import of cryptocurrency mining equipment. This is another step towards a total ban of cryptocurrency activity in Vietnam, which is what the government is pushing for. Any non-cash payments are illegal in Vietnam according to Decree 101 and, therefore, all cryptocurrency payments are illegal.
The ministry argues that at this point cryptocurrency mining machines are not on the list of specialized management or unsafe goods, so individuals and companies can easily import them. This makes the use of cryptocurrency mining equipment difficult for the ministry to manage.
Once mining machines are successfully imported into Vietnam, it is easy for people to accumulate cryptocurrency and begin using it as a currency, breaking the law. Therefore, in order to uphold the law the government needs cryptocurrency mining imports to be banned.
Since 2017, 15,600 cryptocurrency mining machines were imported into Vietnam, and this is only machines that the government was able to track and not all the other machines that came in under the radar. Most of the mining rigs went to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang.
Vietnam’s tightening stranglehold on cryptocurrency has been strengthened by two initial coin offering (ICO) scams, Pincoin and Ifan, that defrauded investors out of USD 660 million. The police chief of Ho Chi Minh City stated that all cryptocurrency activity is illegal following the incident, and the Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc, signed a directive ordering the Central Bank of Vietnam to not facilitate any cryptocurrency related transactions.
The Vietnamese ministry of finance references these ICO scams as a direct reason why cryptocurrency mining equipment must be banned so that further cryptocurrency scams don’t take place.
Banning cryptocurrency mining equipment is easier said than done. A lot of cryptocurrency miners use high-performance graphics processing units (GPUs), which are needed by people who play video games and probably won’t be banned since so many people need them. When it comes down to it any computer can mine cryptocurrency, albeit usually slowly.
It is possible to ban imports of application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) which are the most specialized and powerful mining machines that don’t have any other practical uses besides cryptocurrency mining. However, when it comes down to it the chips could be imported with no machine surrounding it, and these chips would be indistinguishable from any other computer chip. Therefore, someone in Vietnam who is dead set on mining could import the ASIC chips and build their own machines around it.
The only true way to ban cryptocurrency mining and cryptocurrency transactions is to outlaw all computer use. Even in a country like Vietnam where cryptocurrency is completely illegal, it may still thrive due to its decentralized nature.
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