Iran is weighing in on bitcoin. Eager to get in on the hype and understand what the cryptocurrency can offer, the nation’s leaders are reportedly working to build an infrastructure based on digital assets.
Iran Front Page reported in October 2017 that Amir Hossein Davaee, the country’s deputy minister of information and communication technology, said:
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has already conducted several research studies as part of [its] efforts to prepare the infrastructure to use bitcoin inside the country.
A Once Silent Voice Now Speaks
So far, Iran and most of the Middle East have stayed relatively invisible when it comes to cryptocurrencies.
Entities like Bitcoin and Ethereum have not made the same headway they have in the U.S. or most of Asia, and it’s not entirely clear what good the region believes could come of bitcoin’s use.
At press time, no official decisions have been made just yet, and Iran is simply “looking at” the situation.
However it appears that not all the skepticism surrounding cryptocurrencies has been removed. In fact, when asked about Bitcoin at a recent press conference, Deputy Director of New Technologies at the Central Bank of Iran Naser Hakimi explained that the digital currency still presents many risks that policy makers are unsure of how to deal with:
“Given that bitcoin and other currencies have not been introduced by the central bank as the official currency, as well as the risk of buying it and the activity of traders in this field, more precautions are coming into the market because of the possibility of malice… Mechanisms of control and supervision over the supply of cryptocurrencies are being implemented through the collaboration of the central bank and related entities, but the people must be aware of their risks and dangers on the demand side.”
In other words, the volatility of cryptocurrencies is noticeable, and given the continued string of hackings and thefts, members of Iran’s leading organizations aren’t taking any chances.
Iran Keeping an Open Mind
Some, however, are less reluctant to open the doors for incoming bitcoin activity, and suggest that it could assist in Iran’s economic operations granted bitcoin and other digital currencies are monitored by state regulators.
One such group is Iran’s High Council of Cyberspace. In a recent interview, HCC secretary Abolhassan Firouzabadi acknowledged that bitcoin activity is relatively prominent in the area, which can work if certain rules are set in place:
We [at the HCC] welcome Bitcoin, but we must have regulations… Studies are necessary for considering a new currency… Many in Iran are dealing with Bitcoin, be it purchasing, selling or mining it, and even dealing with it in exchange shops, creating content and establishing startups.
Bitcoin Could Probably Solve a Lot
Up to this point, bitcoin activity in Iran has been considered illegal, yet no formal statutes exist establishing its non-legal status.
Last summer, members of the European Union enforced a ban preventing many countries from purchasing Iranian oil. This has ultimately caused inflation to increase by over 22 percent, and Iran’s economy is not where it could be.
Bitcoin could potentially be used to offset some of these negative effects witnessed within Iran’s hindered monetary system.
Will the Middle East become the new bitcoin haven? Post your comments below!
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