Vietnam’s information ministry has penalized a business that claimed it was the first website in the country that had a license to exchange bitcoin, for illegal social networking and establishing an illegal site.
The trading site claimed it had a license to operated cryptocurrency trades, but it was still fined with $1,750, and had its domain name, bitcoin.vn, seized by the Vietnamese government.
Bitcoin Vietnam, which has its headquarters in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City, was charged with a VND40 million ($1,750) fine, given by the Vietnam Radio, Television and Electronic Information Department under the Ministry of Information and Communications.
Nguyen Tran Bao Phuong, Bitcoin Vietnam’s legal representative, said they were in the process of investigating the charges.
She said that the company is currently in a transition phase, so its business registration code had been annulled before the decision was taken.
“Bitcoin Vietnam is a cryptocurrency exchange. We do not yet have a license to offer intermediate services, but we are not operating illegally. The company is closely following any new regulations about Bitcoin, and is willing to comply with any new law,” said Phuong.
According to the company’s website, the company was founded in 2013 and is certified to enable transactions involving Bitcoin.
But, in a recent interview, a representative disclosed that the company’s license was only to be used for “financial advisory” purposes.
The company has created a number of websites over the past four years, including bitcoin.vn and vbtc.vn. Bitcoin Vietnam first made an announcement that its main domain, bitcoin.vn, suspended for a temporarily by VNNIC on March 6.
“VNNIC shall suspend operation of the domain name bitcoin.vn to be handled by the functional agencies according to the provisions of law. The suspension period is 45 days, from 15:00 on 05/03/2018”, said the company’s statement.
Bitcoin Vietnam Co was given 10 days to put into application the sanctioning measures, which the cryptocurrency exchange already followed. The domain is down and the exchange now operates using the Bitcoinvn.io domain.
The State Bank of Vietnam does not recognize the legal status of virtual currencies as legal payment methods, and transactions or use of digital currencies are not protected by law.