By Grant Ferowich

Vietnam’s central bank outlawed the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a medium of exchange.

The central bank did not prohibit cryptocurrency outright, but only the use of bitcoin as a way to buy coffee or pay electric bills. Vietnamese nationals might still find utility in bitcoin as a store of value.

Bitcoin’s market cap topped $102 billion while achieving a new price record over $6,200 per unit in recent days.

Per the State Bank of Vietnam:

  • As of Jan. 1, 2018, “the act of issuing, supply, use of bitcoin and other similar virtual currency as a means of payment is prohibited in Vietnam.”
  •  “Use of illegal means of payment (including bitcoin and other similar virtual currencies) will be subject to a fine of between VND 150 and200 million” roughly $6,600-$8,800.
  • Following New Year’s, “the act of issuing or using an illegal means of payment (including bitcoin and other similar virtual currencies) may be subject to prosecution.”

“The information still does not reveal any explicitly guidelines on cryptocurrency mining and it is unclear if the ‘issuance and supply’ of bitcoin extends to cryptocurrency exchanges,” Cryptocoins News reports.

The management board clarified:

  • Vietnamese citizens are not prohibited from trading, holding, mining, or exchanging Bitcoins.”

Background on ‘Nam

Since 2000, gross domestic product surged an average 6.4 percent annually in the country of 92 million residents, according to World Bank data. In Q3 2017, the economy grew at a rate of 7 percent, per Bloomberg, while pledged foreign direct investment jumped 34.3 percent.