The Ministry of Justice is building a draft scheme on improving the legal framework for management and handling of virtual property, e-money and virtual currencies to be presented to the Government for promulgation of three separate decrees on the contents.
Contributing opinions to the scheme, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) confirms that the legal framework for management of e-money has been completed, adding that e-money has been regulated by the Law on E-Transactions, Government Decrees No. 35 of 2007 on e-transactions in banking activities and No. 80 of 2016 on non-cash payment, and SBV Circular No. 39 dated December 11, 2014, guiding intermediary payment services.
Violators of the above regulations will be handled under Government Decree No. 96 of 2014 on handling of administrative violations in monetary and banking activities, said the SBV leader.
For virtual currencies, the SBV suggested to manage such a currency as (i) a currency and a payment instrument, (ii) a virtual property, or (iii) a commodity when used in exchange or trading transactions.
To date, no government has accepted a virtual currency as a legal currency or payment instrument as such may infringe upon the national sovereignty over money issuance and facilitate tax evasion, said the SBV.
In early 2014, the SBV issued an official press release to affirm that bitcoin and other similar virtual currencies units were not legal currencies and could not be used as payment instruments in Vietnam.
The use of bitcoin and other virtual currencies were not protected by law, said the central bank, noting that credit institutions were not permitted to use bitcoin and similar virtual currencies when providing services to their customers.
It warned organizations and individuals not to hold, invest in or conduct transactions relating to bitcoin and other virtual currencies.
The SBV’s experts said the current laws, including the 2015 Civil Code, have no specific provisions on virtual property.
To ensure the scheme’s feasibility, they said, it should focus on reviewing of the practical conditions and devising measures to create a legal framework on virtual property and there should be a decree on virtual currencies and virtual property instead of a decree to regulate only virtual currencies..-(VLLF)