Vietnam is Preparing to Legalize Bitcoin

Vietnam is preparing to legalize bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies under a new plan approved by the prime minister.

As reported by VNA, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked the Minister of Justice to coordinate with other top advisors, including the State Bank of Vietnam and the Ministry of Finance, to draft a framework for cryptocurrency legalization by August 2018 so that the legal documents could be finalized by the end of the year.

The prime minister also instructed his advisors to assess the best way to tax cryptocurrencies and penalize violations of the regulations. These tasks are to be completed by June and September of 2019, respectively.

The plan is a fulfillment of a 2016 report that the nation was considering taking a more open stance to cryptocurrency and other disruptive financial technologies.

The move toward legalizing bitcoin represents a change of heart from the Vietnamese government. As early as 2014, the State Bank of Vietnam had stated the cryptocurrency was not a valid form of payment or settlement within the nation. The government issued repeated warnings about bitcoin in the years that followed, although it did not prohibit its citizens from using cryptocurrency. Earlier this year, however, the State Bank created a FinTech steering committee to promote the development of Vietnamese financial technology startups.

Many people anticipate bitcoin will flourish in Vietnam. As one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, many of its citizens now have access to smartphones but have never utilized traditional banks.

Vietnam joins several other nations in the Eastern Hemisphere who have recently begun considering bitcoin legalization. Earlier this month, the National Bank of Ukraine announced it would develop a legal framework for bitcoin regulation, while the Philippines just approved the registration of two bitcoin exchanges. India, however, continues to dissuade its citizens from using cryptocurrency, even as local exchanges have seen demand surge in 2017.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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