Category Archives: Iran

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Iran and Russia Join Crypto Chess Against US Dollar as Sanctions Loom

Both Iran and Russia have similar views on bypassing using the US dollar in favor of cryptocurrency in light of sanctions, reports Trustnodes. This is based on comments made by Mohammad Reza Purebrakhimi, the head of the commission for economic affairs of the Assembly of the Islamic Council (Parliament) of Iran, as reported by Interfax.

In a meeting with Russia’s head of the Federation Council Committee on Economic Policy Dmitry Mezentsev, Purebrakhimi suggested that the subject of cryptocurrency has been raised over the past year as a way of avoiding both the US dollar and the SWIFT banking system. To that end, the Central bank of Iran has been instructed by the Iranian government to begin the process of “developing proposals for using cryptocurrency”.

Purebrakhimi had discussed such moves with Russia’s lower house of Parliament, the State Duma’s Committee on Economic Policy, prior to the statement.

“They [Russia] share our opinion that if we manage to promote this work, then we will be the first countries that use the cryptocurrency in the exchange of goods,” Purebrakhimi said, according to a rough translation.

Russia had already stated earlier this month that its own clearing and payment system for banks, developed in 2014 as an alternative to SWIFT, is to run on blockchain by 2019 according to local media. This after suggestions they may be cut off from it due to sanctions. Russian daily Izvestiya reported:

“In 2019, the Central Bank will transfer the Financial Communications Transfer System (SPFS) – the Russian equivalent of SWIFT – to the blockchain system.” (translated)

Iran suggests that its own cryptocurrency is likely to be a tokenized bond similar to the Venezuelan Petro and must be viewed as a timely adoption in the context of a potential reinstatement of sanctions by the US after its recent withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal.

Russian itself has made numerous references to adopting a state cryptocurrency under President Vladimir Putin. Just recently, the Financial Times reported that his economic advisor Sergei Glazev declared that cryptocurrency could be used to carry out “sensitive” state activities: “We can settle accounts with our counterparties all over the world with no regard for sanctions.”

Apart from such proposals as using cryptocurrency at the highest state level, the government is still highly regulating public use of digital currency. A new bill is being worked on within the Russian government, that would have cryptocurrency trading and mining banned entirely unless a person enters a list of approved individuals. According to Coindesk, crypto and digital tokens will only be traded on authorized exchanges complying with AML and counter-terrorism financing regulations.

 

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Iranians Look to Bitcoin After Trump Decision

Iranians have sent more than USD 2.5 billion out of the country for the purchase of cryptocurrencies. The revelation was made by Mohammad Reza Pourebrahimi, Iran’s Chairman of the Economic Commission of the Parliament, moments after US president Trump announced America’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal yesterday, according to Nasdaq.

As Forbes reported, this demonstrates how, when nations are confronted with issues which could drastically impact the future of the economy, some of the population look for financial refuge overseas. On this occasion, Bitcoin appears to be the haven of choice.

Iran had already anticipated the effect of Trump taking the US out of the deal which is shared by P5+1, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States — plus Germany.

In 2017, Iran began developing a local cryptocurrency which was launched earlier in May, although many are skeptical about its success. Venezuela and more recently, Russia, have expressed the merits of state-owned cryptocurrency as a possible sanction breaker. It is one reason for Iran’s original interest although, with the latest developments, the government plan could regain real momentum.

An Iranian living in the US spoke anonymously to Forbes, saying that his parents had tried to send him Bitcoin. It has been banned under current Iranian legislation since April — although it still possible to purchase cryptocurrencies using discrete methods.

“With exchange offices closed, sanctions and the [Iranian] rial dropping like crazy it seems like a good idea to use Bitcoin. I know that there are a few people selling and buying Bitcoin in Iran with LocalBitcoins. For now, it seems like Bitcoin is literally the only way to get money out of the country, so I’m sure more people will be inclined to use it, but with the rampant inflation of the Iranian rial a lot of people won’t be able to afford it,” said Forbes’s source.

Nasdaq suggests that with recent developments and the potential emergence of a national cryptocurrency, as well as with Iranians trading abroad, cryptocurrency could become prominent in Iran. Bitcoin’s overnight bounce after Trump’s announcement yesterday demonstrates that alternative currency markets can have a profound impact in times of economic threat and could become a veritable safe haven.

 

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kamshots/464193132/ – Kamyar Adl

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Iranian Government Debate Banning Telegram App Over Recent ICO

Prominent figures in the Iranian government are set to debate the possible ban on popular messaging app Telegram, under the pretext that the recent initial coin offering (ICO) from the company threatens the national currency.

Telegram in Iran

Telegram recently held a record-breaking ICO, so far raising USD 1.7 billion that will be invested into developing a decentralized blockchain digital communication platform powered by their new native token, Gram.

Iran is a popular location for Telegram users. The government has condemned the app as posing a national security threat, however, saying it played a large part in organizing the political protest in the country in December 2017.

Secretary of the High Council for Cybersecurity of Iran, Hassan Firouzabadi, has supported a ban of Telegram, noting what he perceives as the danger of widespread cryptocurrency adoption in the country.

US news outlet A-Monitor reported  Firouzabadi as calling Telegram an ”enemy of the private sector”, claiming that the company refused to have an office in Iran, or cooperate with the country’s private sector. He continued by stating ”Telegram will undermine the national currency of Iran”.

The argument of government officials opposing the introduction of the Gram currency is reportedly their concern that the virtual currency has a lifetime of just ten years. In this time, they predict USD 50 billion would be withdrawn from the country, leading to what they believe will be mass protests when the currency declines.

As well as this, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called for an investment into cheaply-priced Iranian messaging applications. Speaking to a local news outlet, Rouhani emphasized ”creating and enhancing Iranian software and messaging apps” while preventing Telegram from becoming a messaging app monopoly.

February saw the Central Bank of Iran retract its previous more crypto-friendly stance, now looking to control and prevent cryptocurrency adoption in the country.

The Iranian government has given a number of reasons for banning Telegram in Iran, although critics believe the primary reason they want the ban is to prevent more political protests erupting easily as in December 2017.

 

 

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