Following the warning issued by Vietnamese authorities against investing in digital currencies or using them in transactions, CoinFox reached out to the co-founder of Bitcoin Vietnam for comments on the situation.

CoinFox: Do you think there is any particular fraudulent activity or Ponzi scheme in Vietnam that prompted the authorities to warn citizens against bitcoin? If not, what could have propelled such a warning?

DW: Unfortunately there is indeed quite a lot - and potentially increasingly so - various Ponzi schemes active in Vietnam (as in the SEA region in general) which in one way or another make use of bitcoin technology and leech off its reputation.

While we also publish warnings against these schemes from time to time either on our blog our spoke out against them in our appearances on State Television, there is no efficient way to prevent the majority of people from losing their funds. Only a minority is really willing to listen to your warnings, as most people go ahead anyway in the belief that they have found the greatest investment opportunity of their lifetime... While many others do know that they are investing in scams, but gamble on getting out before these schemes collapse.

Given that, it's quite understandable that the authorities issued an additional warning against these schemes.

I doubt that it will have a big effect on the people investing in these schemes, though – the greed factor is just too strong.

Investment schemes of this kind have been running here in Vietnam and Asia for decades, mostly based on traditional fiat money or precious metals. That some of those conmen and conwomen are now making use of bitcoin's technology or reputation to bamboozle the public about their “investment opportunities” is completely expectable.

Or said otherwise: It would be a miracle if these professional crooks would not start going down this road: if they can part a fool of his money or assets, they just go for it, be it fiat money, precious metals or, nowadays, also bitcoin.

CoinFox: Will the warning have any significant effect on the processes of bitcoin adoption in Vietnam?

DW: Well, user adoption is certainly not affected in any significant way by this kind of warnings. People just do not care much about such official announcements. But it may have some short-term negative effect on merchant adoption, since, if you do not read the announcement carefully and have a vague understanding of what bitcoin is about, you may be scared to do anything “illegal” if you get involved with bitcoin.

While there may be some negative perception issues in the short term, I don't see any significant impact regarding mid- and long-term outcome.

CoinFox: How significant is the number of Vietnamese who are aware of the risks and advantages of the digital currency?

DW: Bitcoin and digital currencies, in general, are still an absolute niche topic in Vietnam and the understanding of the technology and it's specific up- and downsides is still very, very limited to a couple of dozens of people here in the country.

Unfortunately this lack of knowledge also regularly leads to very confusing statements of other “experts” and journalists in the local media - which of course does not help at all to provide the public with some basic knowledge when it comes to the understanding of this technology.
While there is visible monthly progress on that front, and we do our fair share of educating the public via talks in universities, business clubs, national media, at local meetups or simply via our blog, these efforts require a lot of patience and time.


Alexey Tereshchenko