Vietnam defines electronic money, Bitcoin not included

HANOI: Recently issued Decree 52 has, for the first time, defined the concept of electronic money as "the equivalent value in the VND stored by electronic means", based on funds that are pre-paid by customers to banks or organisations providing payment services that offer electronic wallet services.

According to the decree, there are two means of storing electronic money — electronic wallets and prepaid cards.

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) said the decree was an attempt to clarify the nature of electronic money, a necessary step to ensure consistency and to exclude virtual currencies and tools that are not under the supervision of Vietnam's finance authorities.

The decree will take effect from July 1.

According to the central bank, Vietnam has more than 40 e-wallet providers on top of e-payment services provided by commercial banks. A report by FiinGroup, an integrated service provider of financial data, business information and industry research, shows there were about 36 million active e-wallets at the end of April this year.

To date, Vietnam has not officially allowed — but has also not expressly banned — digital currencies and virtual assets in the country.

SBV's Deputy Governor Dao Minh Tu said Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are different from electronic money and, therefore, are not permitted as legal tender in Vietnam. — Vietnam News/ANN

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