A cosmetics vendor that accepts payment with Pi cryptocurrency – even though it is not recognized as a legal tender in Vietnam – caused a stir on social media before quickly disappearing.
Thu Huong in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 7 recently bought a bottle of makeup remover and a cleanser with 32 Pi, which is equivalent to VND750,000 ($31.80), from a vendor on e-commerce platform Shopee.
Many social media users said that they placed orders at the shop, all paying with Pi, and that they received the products.
Payment, however, was unusually complicated. The buyer needs to first pay for their order with Vietnamese dong, then contact the shop and ask for their payment details for using Pi, and then pay a second time with the cryptocurrency. When this was done, they received a refund from the shop for the Vietnamese dong they spent.
One of the sellers said on the phone: “If you are in Ho Chi Minh City, come directly. We have been selling for six years and there is no scam.”
The seller also sent inquirers a screenshot showing that 107 orders have been completed with the Pi payment method.
Shopee, however, said that Pi is not among the seven payment methods that it offers.
“Pi is not accepted as a payment method on Shopee,” said a representative of Shoppee. “Violations of the law and of the platform’s policies will result in punishment.”
The vendor has now been banned on Shopee and all of its items have been removed from the platform.
Any payment using cryptocurrency is illegal in Vietnam. However, some Pi users have been using different terms like “trade” to sell and buy goods and services.
Pi is traded with various rates on social media. Some exchange it for US$3.14.
Two weeks ago a hotel in Phan Thiet, Binh Dinh Province, was ordered by local authorities to stop accepting payment using Pi.
Pi was launched in 2019 and started to boom in Vietnam early 2021. It has been described as an non-transparent cryptocurrency that collects users personal data.
Pi is also not tradeable with other cryptocurrencies.
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