Starting 2018, using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in Vietnam will be illegal and subject to a $9,000 fine

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has amended its monetary regulations to make Bitcoin and similar virtual currencies illegal. In an announcement revealed today – it is now illegal to issue, supply or otherwise use Bitcoin because it has been designated as an illegal means of payment. The SBV notice clarified that the only officially accepted means of payment in Vietnam are checks, payment orders, payment orders, collection orders, bank cards as well as any other payment instruments approved by the State Bank. The move against cryptocurrencies follows similar bans on centralized virtual currencies, often used for gaming or gambling, as well.

While no other altcoins like ZCash, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, and others are specifically named, it’s pretty clear that Vietnam is also considering these other cryptocurrencies to be illegal means of payment, as well. What’s the penalty for using illegal means of payment? 150 million to 200 million VN – which translates to roughly $9,000 USD.

Editor’s Note: Dominik Weil from the has said that the ruling has been misunderstood:

In short: All status quo. You are not supposed to offer goods/services in other means than VND – same rules apply e.g. for USD/Gold etc.  Reason for the announcement now is the the news from the day before, that FPT university planned to start accepting BTC for tution fees.  Since those news got covered in all major VN media – SBV saw themselves forced to react with a clarification on the matter. Offering goods & services in VN needs to be done for VND. Status of Cryptocurrency Regulation in VN remains unchanged.

Vietnam: $9,000 fine for using cryptocurrency

The Vietnamese site that published the news about he update to Article 206 – – is a state owned and operated media operation. So the rule has already been decreed – there is no comment period here.

“From 1-1-2018, the act of issuing, supplying and using illegal means of payment (including bitcoin and other similar virtual currency) may be subject to prosecution in accordance with the provisions of clause 1 (h) of Article 206 of the Penal Code 2015 (as amended and supplemented in 2017).”

It concluded:

“As such, Bitcoin and other similar virtual currencies are not 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.”

It isn’t yet clear if the declaration that virtual currencies are illegal means of payment affect the use of Bitcoin and similar currencies as a form of investment. Does the prohibition of issuing and supplying of Bitcoin also mean that mining is illegal in Vietnam? It’s entirely possible. Until the first user, or company, is fined for breaking this new decree, we won’t know exactly. However, don’t be surprised if other countries also decree that Bitcoin isn’t a legal means of payment as the fiat status quo continues to be disrupted. That means that virtual currencies have successfully ruffled some feathers and that they, the governments, have moved on from ignoring us to fighting us – and the next step is simply that we win.

Caleb Chen

Caleb is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he studied Economics, East Asian Studies, and Mathematics. He holds a MSc in Digital Currency from the University of Nicosia. He believes that we are moving towards a better tomorrow, bit by bit by Bitcoin.

11 Replies to “Starting 2018, using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in Vietnam will be illegal and subject to a $9,000 fine”

    1. This is not true at all. For starters Vietnam do not have the American dollar sign in their currency. A country can not make crypto illegal. Even they tried to they couldn’t but if this was a ruling then it would change very quickly when it becomes a global currency and the tourism trade in Vietnam dries up be wise backpackers will soon be traveling with Bitcoin and not fiat. The worst thing about going to Vietnam is nobody ever wants to buy your Vietnam money back off you. So backpackers will all be carrying crypto only pretty soon. Seeing Vietnam is heavily relying on tourism they will quickly change their tune if this was real.
      No doubt there is a Vietnam or south east Asia blockchain ico about to be released and this is more FUD. just like when the Chinese one and the Korean one and the Russia one were released. Their is instant FUD everytime a big ico is being released saying that this country is making it illegal. It’s absolute nonsense.

      Might I add it’s impossible to quote a person in English language when you are translating their statements from Vietnamese. How do they quote in English when they are speaking Vietnamese? It isn’t a quote as it can’t be.

    2. Vietnam is still socialist and everything is linked with the state. It’s unlikely they would make a declaration like this if they didn’t have authority.

  1. As Vietnam’s first Bitcoin merchant, https://Future.Travel is directly affected by this decree. Future.Travel accepts Bitcoin and was a sponsor of the first Fintech conference in Vietnam in 2016, to which the State bank of Vietnam attended.

    We sit in an interesting position as we advertise in VND, and accept in VND. In fact we do not price or advertise in BTC. We simply convert BTC to be accepted with a fiat flow to local VND currency. So the question is ‘Can you shop in Euros, USD, SGD, etc and be outside the law in Vietnam when the only currency being received at the coalface (eg, Bank or POS) is VND?’

    While the decree maybe made, the clarification still needs some work. And yes Tom, the Central Bank decree is as good as law. If it is imposed it is not up for discussion, it is the rule. We follow the rules in Vietnam and it mostly works. Sometimes what is said and what is meant is lost in translation. Digital currency and blockchain transactions will arrive in Vietnam and I believe soon, as Vietnam very forward thinking on the technology. You will probably see it here before you see it in some western countries.

    At the end of the day the inbound currency flows from blockchain transactions in Vietnam is quite good and growing. I wonder how they will reconcile the cut off foreign investment and cash flows if they enforce the decree as per the report in the state owned press.

  2. If Bill and Ted want to transact their private business using bitcoin, how the fuck can ANYBODY stop them? How can a transaction between two consenting adults ever be illegal?

    Fuck this planet of dumbasses.

  3. First place to look is the law itself. As from the article, the Law says the use of things like Bitcoin MAY be subject to the law. Key word is MAY be. It means there are situations where the law doesn’t apply. Those situations MAY apply to those using it. Someone only need to find out to whom or what situation the exemptions apply and act in that capacity.

    Sure sounds scary though.

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