According to the Iran Daily, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) and Ministry of Energy have put forth a joint proposal and law amendment which would see the use of cryptocurrency and Bitcoin in particular, to fund imports from other countries. Under this new arrangement, miners will sell their mined Bitcoin or other crypto under selected channels identified by the CBI, while the amount of Bitcoin each miner can sell will be subject to a set authorized limit, decided by the Ministry of Energy.
While Bitcoin and digital assets are not outlawed in Iran, the mining industry is treading on thin ice after authorities carried out a large-scale crackdown on miners who were illegally using large amounts of electricity but paying only a fraction of the original cost for the supply. It is legal to trade digital assets, but financial regulators are keeping a close eye on developments in the sector.
The CBI may be taking a cautious stance towards digital assets, but the merits of utilizing crypto are apparent. The use of Bitcoin and other assets can help Iran to evade sanctions imposed by the US, especially as Iran relies heavily on the US dollar monetarily. Iran is not the first country to turn to digital assets as a solution to mounting economic and political pressures by the US. Venezuela’s government has been aggressively promoting its cryptocurrency, the Petro, but it has not been very successful in getting its citizens to adopt it.
The Atlantic Council finds that Iranians are ready to embrace cryptocurrency and blockchain, but the industry has not yet taken off due to a lag in response time from the government in taking advantage of the economic opportunities that will emerge from this new group of assets. Infrastructure exists for Iran to take a step forward in this direction, but once again, regulatory inconsistency for crypto has been a major stumbling block for Iran as a whole.
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