Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, has issued a new directive that seeks to broaden the country’s efforts to better regulate cryptocurrencies, according to reports from Xinhua and local media outlets. The move was reportedly in response to increasing government concerns about trader vulnerability and the potential damage that digital currencies could do to the nation’s financial markets.
The directive comes in the wake of reports that the government had launched an investigation of an alleged $658 million digital currency scam. On Wednesday, the Prime Minister issued a statement that directed Vietnamese banks to avoid any transactions involving digital currency.
Vietnam’s central bank determined last year that digital currencies are not legal tender. In the months since that ruling, the State Bank and Ministry of Justice have reportedly been trying to develop a consistent set of standards for regulating the crypto space.
The Prime Minister’s latest directive is broad and addresses a number of government concerns. It forbids credit institutions from handling digital currency transactions and requires prompt reporting of “suspicious” transactions. It also extends those requirements to brokerages, investment funds, and fund management firms.
Cryptocurrency miners in Vietnam are likely to be impacted as well, since the order directs government officials to curtail imports of the hardware they need to mine digital currency.