People who pay or accept Bitcoin or other virtual currencies will be fined and face up to three years of imprisonment from January.
From January 1, those who issue credit cards to ineligible cases, those who issue, supply and use illegal means of payment, or fake invoices will be fined from $2,200 to $13,200 or face from six months to three years of imprisonment.
In October, the State Bank of Vietnam has banned the use of the cryptocurrency for payments. The bank only allows conventional payment mechanisms including cheques, payment orders and credit cards. According to the SBV, Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are not lawful means of payment in Vietnam.
The ban does not, however, mention mining or exchange of virtual currencies.
The decision about virtual currencies was issued after FPT University released an announcement on October 26 that students were allowed to pay tuition fees using bitcoin, as they considered it a viable solution, especially for their foreign students.
When Bitcoin and other virtual currencies came to Vietnam in 2009, they attracted a lot of attention from the investors with the daily transacted value in virtual currencies reaching USD4,000 in 2017.