Category Archives: Hassan Rouhani

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Chinese Miners Struggle for Easy Ride in Iran

Things aren’t turning out to be smooth for Chinese Bitcoin miners heading into Iran to profit from cheaper electricity rates.

Long before China hinted it may consider halting Bitcoin mining projects, the exodus began and Iran recently became a hotspot for miners along with parts of South East Asia such as Vietnam and Cambodia. China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is now looking to siphon off a number of industries which include cryptocurrency mining as part of a state cleanup.

The Iranian venture for many of those Chinese miners deciding to make the move has gone sour, and reports coming back from Iran highlight some of the issues which have made the Middle East less attractive than was at first perceived.

One issue has been getting the equipment across the Iranian border. One miner Liu Feng reported that the chance of losing equipment at the border has become common, with Iranian customs confiscating at least 40,000 crypto mining rigs to date. Some rigs can be sneaked through if presented as non-mining processors for those lucky enough to be able to strike up a deal with customs officials. Feng explains the reason for the confiscations:

“Because of [Iran’s] huge electricity subsidy, the government has added this energy-hungry device (bitcoin miner) to the list of 2,000 banned shipments to come in.”

The same mining enthusiast, Lui Feng also had problems pricing his electricity supply with a local supplier after his supply tariff was doubled just two months into operation. A subsequent set up resulted in angry locals complaining about the noise emitted from his rigs, resulting in miners being confiscated.

Despite these hurdles, Chinese Bitcoin miners are still optimistic that it can get better for them in Iran. With the Iranian government now accepting crypto mining as a legal activity, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is behind a new cloud computing industrial park. Also, there are rumors that Tehran may get behind the import of Bitcoin mining hardware.

Currently, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are still detaining or confiscating machines at border points with tough import rules still in place.

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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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