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Calling for cryptocurrency investment is illegal: official

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n illustration of a Bitcoin on June 23, 2017. Local residents should be cautious about people calling for investments in cryptocurrencies to avoid being swindled – PHOTO: REUTERS
HCMC – A former top police official asked local residents to stay clear of persons calling for investments in cryptocurrencies to avoid being cheated, as drives to mobilize capital for the crypto business are unlawful in Vietnam.

Besides breaking Vietnamese laws, investors in cryptocurrencies could also face risks. Cryptocurrencies or virtual money and payments made using such money are not legally recognized in the country, according to Vu Hoang Kien, former deputy head of the Criminal Police Department, under the Ministry of Public Security.

The police have cracked down on many crypto rings so far. Many investors have been lured through the simple investment procedures and interest rate as high as 90% per month, and have been consequently defrauded for up to hundreds of billion of dong. Some swindlers have even offered an astounding interest rate of 120% per month to attract investors.

Kien advised locals not to be tempted by the high interest rates in the crypto business, as this could mean going against Vietnamese laws and lead to substantial debt for themselves, their families and friends.

According to Nguyen Nam Hao from the Police Department for Corruption, Smuggling and Economic Crimes, despite the many warnings issued on the matter, many locals are still investing in cryptocurrencies.

To date, only the Government’s Decree 96 stipulates administrative fines at VND150 million-VND200 million for individuals that issue, supply and use unlawful payment methods, including Bitcoins and other virtual currencies, noted Hao.

Given the scores of crypto-related fraud cases in the country, the official stated that more stringent and specific regulations need to be issued to minimize the negative impacts associated with cryptocurrency.

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