Vietnam To Ban Bitcoin Miner Imports, Increases Scrutiny

  • Vietnam's Ministry of Finance recently proposed a ban on bitcoin mining machine imports
  • The move was reportedly justified as the cryptocurrency could be used for illegal purposes.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance has recently proposed a temporary ban on bitcoin mining machine imports, to “improve the management of bitcoin and cryptocurrency transactions.” The country’s government is reportedly working to increase scrutiny over BTC transactions.

According to local news outlet Vietnam Plus, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are considered an “illegal non-cash payment method” in the country, which means residents aren’t allowed to pay for goods and services with cryptocurrencies.

The news outlet, citing a report the Ministry of Finance sent the government on cryptocurrency management, noted it argued bitcoin miners aren’t mentioned in the country’s list of goods that can’t be imported, “which has made it easy for businesses to import the machine.”

The Ministry went on to add that the use of bitcoin miners “has shown complications in management,” which subsequently, according to it, means cryptocurrencies can illegally be used as a payment method.

Vietnam Plus adds that the Ministry of Finance referenced a case to prove its point:

An organization based in the city, Modern Tech, reportedly duped 32,000 individuals in an investment of approximately 15 trillion VND (666 million USD) in two fraudulent digital currency projects.

Vietnam Plus

Per its data, Vietnamese bitcoiners have imported over 15,600 bitcoin miners in total, with over 9,300 being imported last year. Most of these machines go to three main cities, Ho Chi -Minh, Hanoi, and Da Nang.

Earlier the country’s prime minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, asked the country’s central bank, the State Bank of Vietnam (SVB), and other financial institutions to “intensify inspections” and promptly report suspicious cryptocurrencies transactions. The prime minister’s move came after authorities issued various warnings against bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

These warnings reportedly argued cryptocurrencies can be used in various crimes, such as terrorism financing, tax evasion, fraud, and money laundering. Vietnam Plus added:

The PM instructed the Ministry of Public Security to join hands with the SBV and relevant ministries to detect and handle any case of cryptocurrency being used for illegal payment, any activity connected to money laundering and any terrorism-related activity sponsored via cryptocurrency.

Vietnam Plus

Now, the country’s Ministry of Finance is set to study the initial coin offering (ICO) industry to propose alternatives and counter the trend, while the Ministry of Industry and Trade will “channel efforts to address illegal activities related to the use of bitcoin to make payments on e-commerce websites or applications.”

As CryptoGlobe covered, the Vietnamese government moved to seize the domain of the country’s oldest cryptocurrency exchange, Bitcoin Vietnam, earlier this year, which reportedly helped the country’s bitcoin scene off the ground.

Currently, according to CryptoCompare data, a total of 87 BTC ($500,000) were traded against Vietnam’s fiat currency, the VND, in the last 24-hour period. This accounts for 0.01 percent of the flagship cryptocurrency’s trading volume in said time period.

Hackers Try to Sell Data of 142 Million MGM Hotel Guests for Bitcoin or Monero

Hackers are trying to sell the data of 142 million MGM hotel guests on the dark web for about $2,900 worth of cryptocurrency, payable in either bitcoin or monero (XMR).

According to ZDNet, the data comes from a 2019 data breach that MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM) that was initially believed to have only affected 10.6 million MGM hotel guests, as the hackers published a free sample of the data available for download.

The new finding, that a total of 142,479,937 hotel guests had their data stolen by a hacker, was discovered after a hacker published an ad to sell the data on a darknet market. The hacker claims to have gotten to the data after breaching data leak monitoring service DataViper, which is operated by Night Lion Security.

The founder of Night Lion Security, Vinny Troia, reportedly told ZDNet the firm never owned a copy of MGM’s full database, and that the hackers were trying to ruin its reputation with their claims. While MGM Resorts learned of the security breach last year, it did not make it public and instead just notified impacted customers.

Speaking to ZDNet, an MGM spokesperson said:

MGM Resorts was aware of the scope of this previously reported incident from last summer and has already addressed the situation

The spokesperson also added that the majority of data consisted of “contract information like names, postal addresses, and email addresses.”  Social Security numbers, reservation data, and other financial information was not leaked, according to MGM.

Irina Nesterovsky, Head of Research at threat intel firm KELA, reportedly noted that the MGM data has been for sale on private hacking circles since at least July 2019 and that the situation could be even worse, as posts from Russian-speaking forums claimed to contain the details of 200 million hotel guests.

For now, it’s only clear that the hacker who has the data is trying to sell it for $2,900 worth of either bitcoin or XMR on an unnamed darknet marketplace.

Featured image via Pixabay.