Vietnam to develop legal framework for Bitcoin

By VnExpress   December 4, 2016 | 10:21 pm PT
The government is looking to cash in on taxes from the virtual money.

Amid concerns that Bitcoin can be used for money laundering, creating chaos in the financial markets, Vietnamese regulators, rather than banning Bitcoin, are looking to manage the virtual money through a new legal framework.

Since Bitcoin transactions are mainly conducted on the internet, it makes it difficult for the government to collect taxes. This means losses to the budget revenue due to tax evasion, said a recent government proposal.

The proposal also pointed out that Bitcoin can be used to launder money, purchase illegal weapons and arms, and enable corruption and bribery.

The justice ministry, along with the central bank, the information ministry and the trade ministry, has been tasked with bringing a regulatory framework to the table by the end of next year.

Vietnamese lawmakers admit that they are behind other countries when it comes to defining virtual currency and how it can be regulated.

They are also aware that electronic payments are on the rise in Vietnam, with over 2.2 million electronic wallets currently active across the country.

Besides, as Vietnam is experiencing an e-commerce boom, Bitcoin and other types of virtual money could be used as non-cash payments in the future.

Vietnam expects revenue from online retail to hit $10 billion by 2020, accounting for 5 percent of total nationwide revenue from sales of goods and services, according to the government’s e-commerce development plan for 2016-2020.

The Southeast Asian country forecasts rapidly growing demand for online shopping with 30 percent of the population buying goods and services over the internet.

The justice ministry said that there are no rules in place to regulate Bitcoin as well as other electronic forms of money, and this must change.

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