After months of deliberation, Vietnam has moved to halting imports of cryptocurrency mining equipment according to a customs department in the country. Domestic businesses and individuals have stopped importing crypto mining equipment altogether since the beginning of July, according to the Ho Chi Minh City (HCM) Customs Department, as reported by Viet Nam News on Monday.
Officials from Vietnam’s largest city said individuals and firms had imported as many as 3,664 application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) devices in the first half of 2018. 3,000 machines were notably imported by four enterprises involved in mining operations with the rest imported by individuals and organizations who did not include import tax codes, the authority said. A majority of the devices were revealed to be Antminer models, a brand of cryptocurrency mining equipment developed by industry giant Bitmain.
As reported previously, Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance (MoF) first proposed the blanket ban in June after authorities in the nation increased their scrutiny into the domestic crypto sector following a nationwide ICO-fraud that reportedly conned an estimated $660 million from 32,000 domestic investors. The fallout led Vietnam’s prime minister ordering six government ministries, the police, and the central bank to investigate the scam.
As a consequence, the MoF said ‘it requires State management agencies to take strict control measures with the import and use of this [crypto mining] commodity’, leading to the eventual proposal of the ban. In July, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), the country’s central bank, agreed with the MoF’s proposal and backed the ban.
According to figures from Vietnam Customs, some 9,300 ASIC devices were imported into Vietnam in 2017, predominantly into Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital.
As things stand, cryptocurrencies are outlawed as payments in the country after the central bank refused to include them among the recognized exceptions of non-cash payments that include checks, payment orders and bank cards. The law, which came into effect at the turn of 2018, forbids the issuance and usage of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as legal tender with the threat of criminal prosecution and fines of up to $9,000 for adopters.