Hanoi Prohibits Use of Cryptocurrencies in E-commerce Transactions

Hanoi Prohibits Use of Cryptocurrencies in E-commerce Transactions

The Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade has prohibited organizations and individuals involved in e-commerce business in the city from using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This follows a directive signed by the country’s prime minister intended to strengthen the legal framework of cryptocurrencies.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Banning Crypto Use in E-commerce

The Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade announced on Saturday that it has sent document No. 1638 / SCT-QLTM to “organizations and individuals directly or indirectly related to e-commerce business in Hanoi [to] not use bitcoin and other virtual currencies (cryptocurrencies) to settle e-commerce transactions online.” Citing that if violations are detected, “they shall be strictly dealt with according to the provisions of the law,” the regulator wrote:

The Department of Industry and Trade requires organizations and individuals who are directly or indirectly involved in e-commerce business in Hanoi to strictly abide by the above-mentioned regulations and do not use bitcoin and other virtual currencies….in payment of e-commerce transactions, online purchases and sales, [and] payment [of] online services in contravention of Vietnamese law.

Vietnamese Law on Crypto

Hanoi Prohibits Use of Cryptocurrencies in E-commerce TransactionsCiting provisions of the government’s Decree No. 101/2012 / ND-CP on non-cash payment instruments, the document reiterates, “bitcoin and other similar virtual currencies are not legal means of payment in Vietnam; The issuance, supply, use of bitcoin and similar virtual currency is prohibited in Vietnam.”

Violations are subject to a “fine of between VND 150,000,000 [~US$6,608] and 200,000,000 [~$8,810] for individuals and for organizations with two times the fine level for personal,” the document emphasizes. Furthermore, as of January this year, issuing and using cryptocurrencies “may be subject to criminal prosecution.”

Hanoi Prohibits Use of Cryptocurrencies in E-commerce TransactionsLast week, the Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc signed a directive to strengthen the management of activities related to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This follows reports of the country’s “biggest digital money fraud in history,” which duped approximately 32,000 Vietnamese out of VNĐ15 trillion (~$658 million). The police are currently investigating the case.

Meanwhile, the Justice Ministry, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), and related agencies are working on the regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. According to the Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, the number of bitcoin mining rigs legally imported into the country has skyrocketed since last year, prompting the department to propose a ban on their imports. Earlier this year, the department revealed that, in the first three weeks of January, almost 8,000 mining rigs were legally imported into the city.

What do you think of Hanoi prohibiting the use of crypto for e-commerce transactions? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Vietnam’s Prime Minister Directs Central Bank to Strengthen Cryptocurrency Framework

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Directs Central Bank to Strengthen Crypto Framework

The Prime Minister of Vietnam has signed a directive for the country’s central bank and the Ministry of Finance to strengthen the management of cryptocurrency-related activities. This follows an alleged fraud involving a cryptocurrency that scammed 32,000 Vietnamese out of VNĐ15 trillion.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

Prime Minister’s Directive

The Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has signed a directive to strengthen “the management of activities related to bitcoin and other virtual currencies,” Viet Nam News reported, elaborating:

To limit the risks and adverse impacts on society, as well as promptly detect, prevent and handle fraud, the Prime Minister asked the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) to direct credit institutions and intermediary payment service organisations not to conduct illegal transactions related to digital currencies.

The authorities have repeatedly warned about the risks associated with cryptocurrencies “as well as their use for criminal activity such as money laundering, terrorist financing, illegal remittance, tax evasion and fraud,” the news outlet added.

Preventing Crypto Scams

This directive follows an alleged crypto fraud involving a theft of VNĐ15 trillion (~USD$658 million) from 32,000 victims in Ho Chi Minh City. Dozens of investors protested over the weekend at the office of Modern Tech Jsc Co, which marketed the Ifan tokens. They carried banners saying “biggest digital money fraud in history,” the publication conveyed, adding that the location turned out to be a ghost address with no sign of company activities.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Directs Central Bank to Strengthen Crypto Framework
Protesters holding banners outside Modern Tech office. Photo: Huy Hung.

For an investment of $1,000 or more, Modern Tech promised a return of at least 48% in cash and an additional 8% for recruiting other buyers, one protester explained. However, the global decline of the crypto market has caused Ifan’s value to plummet to about 1 US cent and the company subsequently changed its policy to pay out interest and principal back in the Ifan currency instead of cash, the publication described.

The SBV has been closely following this case, the news outlet reported a central bank official indicating. “We are gathering information about the case, but officially we haven’t launched an investigation until we receive accusations from any of the alleged victims,” Le Dong Phong, the police chief of Ho Chin Minh City told Reuters.

Crypto Laws In the Works

According to the Prime Minister’s directive, financial organizations must “strengthen their management, review and report suspicious transactions related to cryptocurrencies,” Viet Nam News added.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Directs Central Bank to Strengthen Crypto Framework
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc.

Following the directive signing, the Vietnamese Government Office published Letter No. 2768 / VPCP-KTTH on Wednesday to provide directions for the Ministry of Finance, Information and Communication as well as the SBV to follow, according to the Government Gazette.

The Prime Minister continues to put the Ministry of Justice in charge of studying and completing a “uniform and unified legal framework on the management and handling of virtual currency, virtual property and electronic money,” the Gazette detailed. The Justice Ministry, the SBV, and other related agencies are already carrying out the crypto-related tasks assigned by the Prime Minister in a directive submitted in January. According to the Gazette, the Justice Ministry sent a written statement to the Prime Minister, stating:

Although there are no regulations on virtual currency, there are also no rules that ban transactions using virtual currency.

The SBV also submitted its comments to the Prime Minister, emphasizing that it “is the only agency issuing paper money and coins” which are the only legal means of payment in Vietnam. “As such, the SBV believes that bitcoin and other similar virtual currencies are not currencies and legal means of payment in Vietnam. The issuance, supply, use of bitcoin and other similar virtual currency as a means of payment is prohibited in Vietnam,” the Gazette reiterated.

What do you think of the Vietnamese Prime Minister’s directive on cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Scam Round-Up: Asian Investment Schemes and Snail Mail Extortion

Scam Round-Up: Asian Investment Schemes and Snail Mail Extortion

Unfortunately, as with any industry, scams of all shapes and sizes persist within the cryptocurrency sector. This past week has seen a Filipino couple arrested after amassing over $17 million USD through a bitcoin investment scam, and protests held outside the office of a Vietnamese company that swindled $660 through two multi-level marketing (MLM) initial coin offerings (ICOs). It appears that cryptocurrency scams are still being peddled via analog communications – with phone and snail mail-based scams being reported this week also. 

Also Read: Bittrex Exchange is Back! Annnnnnd It’s Gone Again

Filipino Couple Amasses Nearly $1 Billion Philippine Pesos Through Investment Scam

Scam Round-Up: Asian Investment Schemes and Snail Mail ExtortionEarlier this week, the Philippine National Police (PNP) arrested Arnel and Leonay Ordania – a couple who are accused of amassing approximately P900 million through a bitcoin investment scam.

The couple is accused of luring roughly 50 investors in their company, Newg, for which they were promised 30% returns every 15 days. Rosanne Maglunog, a victim of the Ordania’s scam, invested P33 million into the scheme with her family and husband during November and December 2017, before discovering via social media that Newg would no longer be issuing payouts to investors.

The PNP chief, Ronald dela Rosa, has told media that the couple was arrested on April 4th in an entrapment operation executed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

Vietnamese Company Protested for Promoting MLM ICO

Scam Round-Up: Asian Investment Schemes and Snail Mail ExtortionVietnamese media has reported that protests were held outside the office building of Ho Chi Minh City-based company, Modern Tech. Reports have indicated that the company is accused of swindling VND15 Trillion ($660 million USD) from roughly 32,000 investors through two multi-level marketing ICOs, Ifan, and Pincoin.

Ifan investors were promised gains “on a daily basis” as prominent Vietnamese musicians were to join the platform, and assured that the company abided by Singapore’s regulatory guidelines. Pincoin was described as a project based in Dubai. Investors were promised monthly returns of 48%, a full recuperation of all investments in fourth months, and an 8% commission on revenue generated by referred investors.

In reality, seven Vietnamese nationals are said to have been behind both projects, with Modern Tech serving as a means to promote what were no more than multi-level marketing schemes. Whilst investors were able to see the ‘paper’ value of their investments rise, none were able to realize their profits in any form.

Canadian Utilities Provider Issues Warning of Phone Scam

Scam Round-Up: Asian Investment Schemes and Snail Mail ExtortionEpcor, an Alberta-based utility company proving natural gas, electricity, water, and wastewater treatment services, has warned its customers of a phone scam impersonating the company targeting businesses.

The company warned that businesses have been receiving telephone calls from an individual impersonating an Epcor representative, threatening to shut off electricity services within an hour should they fail to make a payment in bitcoin.

Tim le Riche, a spokesperson for Epcor, revealed that the company received seven calls reporting the scam, including two from businesses that had already made “substantial” payments to the scammers. Mr. Riche stated that “Epcor does not do business like this,” adding that “If there does happen to be any kind of billing issue with any customer, we always work with them […] We would never make a sudden phone call to a customer to say, ‘You’ve got to make a payment within an hour or we’re going to shut you down.’ We just don’t do that.”

Snail Mail Extortion Continues

Scam Round-Up: Asian Investment Schemes and Snail Mail ExtortionOn Friday, April 6th, two Belmont residents reported a suspicious letter threatening to release evidence of secrets should $8,750 worth of bitcoin not be received within ten days. The letter also contained an accompanying guide on how to use bitcoin.

In January, CNBC reported that many American men were receiving letters through the post threatening to divulge details pertaining to infidelities should $2,000 worth of BTC not be sent to the blackmailer.

Have you every fallen victim to a scam involving crypto? Share your experiences in the comments section below!


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Japanese Police Arrest Chinese Man for Selling Cryptocurrency Exchange Accounts

Japanese Police Arrest Chinese Man for Selling Cryptocurrency Exchange Accounts

During the height of the cryptocurrency trading mania, when major exchanges closed their doors to new clients in an effort to cope, it was not uncommon to see people offering big amounts to buy existing accounts. The following case should serve as a warning to anyone considering selling accounts, as you can never know what legal problems may arise.

Also Read: Chinese Engineer Arrested for Stealing 100 Bitcoin From His Own Company

Chinese Corporate Executive Arrested in Tokyo

Japanese Police Arrest Chinese Man for Selling Cryptocurrency Exchange AccountsThe Japanese police revealed on Tuesday that they arrested a Chinese citizen in Tokyo for allegedly selling client accounts, at cryptocurrency exchanges he opened, to a group of criminals. The man is reportedly named Lin Xiaolin, and said to be a 30 years old corporate executive living in the Japanese capital city.

According to reports from China, the executive was arrested on March 15, 2018. He allegedly opened the accounts at a cryptocurrency exchange in Tokyo by accessing its server from his home country under the identity of a Vietnamese individual. The Chinese man has denied these allegations.

The police said that after opening an account, Lin immediately sold it off to a criminal group for approximately 100,000 yen (less than $1,000). He allegedly opened a total of six cryptocurrency exchanges accounts, and at least three of which were later used in some illicit transactions, the Tokyo police believe.

The Vietnamese Connection

Japanese Police Arrest Chinese Man for Selling Cryptocurrency Exchange AccountsThe Japanese police suspect that the criminal group deposited cryptocurrency taken from a third party to the accounts they got from Lin, in violation of the law. The investigators also think he might have handed the criminals not just accounts but other “tools” they may use.

The Chinese executive allegedly acquired the personal details of a Vietnamese person from an acquaintance he had in Vietnam. They chatted on Facebook and Lin paid 30,000 yen (less than $300) to get the name, birthday date and more information of another individual. These were used to open an exchange account in early July 2017, according to the police. The investigators first arrested four Vietnamese back in February for allegedly selling this information to Lin, but prosecutors eventually decided against indicting them.

What should be the punishment for selling off cryptocurrency exchange accounts? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


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Vietnam Imported More Mining Rigs in 3 Weeks This Month Than All of Last Year

Vietnam Imported More Mining Rigs in 3 Weeks This Month Than All of Last Year

The Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department has revealed that in the first 3 weeks of this month almost 8,000 mining rigs were imported into the city. This number exceeds the entire count of mining rigs imported into Vietnam last year.

Also read: South Korean Officials Caught Trading On Insider Knowledge of Crypto Regulations

Nearly 8000 Mining Rigs Imported in 23 Days

Vietnam Imported More Mining Rigs in 3 Weeks This Month Than All of Last YearThe Ho Chi Minh City (HMC) Customs Department has revealed the number of mining rigs imported during the first three weeks of January.

Nguyen Thanh Tuyen, the customs department’s deputy director told the HMC Law Department on January 24 that 7,932 mining rigs were imported into the city between January 1 and 23, Tuoi Tre reported. He added that the total value of these rigs is “nearly $12.3 million…[and] the amount of tax paid to the [city’s] budget is nearly 28 billion dong [~$1.23 million].” Tianphong elaborated:

Currently, the price of bitcoin mining rigs is quite high, from 70 to 80 million [VND]; some places even [sell them for] up to 100 million [VND] per machine.

Vietnam Imported More Mining Rigs in 3 Weeks This Month Than All of Last YearThe publication noted that most mining rigs are imported from China, adding that they cost approximately 20-25 million dong each but were sold for 35-40 million dong each in early 2016. By mid-2017, “the price of mining rigs increased to VND 45-60 million per machine and at present, although the price of bitcoin decreased, the price of mining rigs still increased to VND 80-90 million per machine,” the publication added.

News.Bitcoin.com recently reported that a total of 7,005 known mining rigs were imported in 2017. Most of them, 5,527 rigs, were imported between November and December 21. Only 1,478 rigs were declared entering the country between January 1 and October 31 of last year, according to the HMC Customs Department.

No Regulations Yet

Tuyen explained that mining rig imports and mining operations in the city are “still normal because there are no regulations for the import of such goods,” Tianphong quoted him. Currently, “the State Bank has confirmed that bitcoin and other similar virtual currencies are not legal means of payment in Vietnam” and residents using them as such “will be fined 150-200 million [VND], and may be subject to criminal prosecution from January 1, 2018,” the publication emphasized.

Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the HMC branch of the State Bank, was quoted saying:

Virtual currency in general, and bitcoin and litecoin in particular, are not currencies and are not legal means of payment under the Vietnamese law.

What do you think of the Vietnamese mining industry growing so quickly? Let us know in the comments section below.


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