Iran seems to be still undecided over whether to embrace Bitcoin or not. After showing a positive attitude towards cryptocurrencies (specifically Bitcoin) some time ago, now country’s Central bank has decided to move a step behind. The Central Bank of Iran, according to local media, recently said that Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency has never been recognized as an official currency in Iran, and people should stay away from them because they may lose their valuable assets in Crypto markets.
“The wild fluctuations of the digital currencies along with competitive business activities underway via network marketing and pyramid scheme have made the market of these currencies highly unreliable and risky.” – Central Bank of Iran
Contrary to this, in past Iran’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) had said that his ministry was working to embrace Bitcoin to bypass the sanctions that have been slapped on it by other countries.
“The ministry of communications and information technology has already conducted a number of research studies as part of efforts to prepare the infrastructure to use Bitcoin inside the country.” – Iran’s ICT Minister Amir Hossein Davaee in November 2017
In case you didn’t know, Iran went under a sudden banking blackout when global payments rail SWIFT blocked it from its network in 2012. The banking system of country got completely disconnected from the global banking system. That ban lasted four years, until US President Barack Obama lifted his country’s sanctions from Iran in 2016.
Bitcoin Out, Something Else In?
However, while Iran has turned its back on Bitcoin, it’s reportedly working on its own cryptocurrency. Country’s current ICT Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi recently said in a Tweet that his country is exploring the possibility of a state-owned cryptocurrency with Post Bank of Iran (a State owned bank headquartered in Tehran).
در جلسهای که با هیئت مدیره پست بانک در خصوص ارزهای دیجیتال مبتنی بر زنجیره بلوکی داشتم، مقرر شد این بانک اقدامات لازم برای پیاده سازی آزمایشی اولین ارز دیجیتالی کشور را با استفاده از ظرفیت نخبگان کشور به عمل آورد. مدل آزمایشی برای بررسی و تایید به نظام بانکی کشور ارائه خواهد شد.
— MJ Azari Jahromi (@azarijahromi) February 21, 2018
His Urdu tweet reads something like this when translated to English:
“In a meeting with the board of directors of the Post Bank of Iran on digital currency based on blockchain, the necessary measures for the pilot implementation of the country’s first digital currency were set out by using the country’s elite capacity. A pilot model for review and approval will be presented to the banking system of the country.”
Iran’s efforts to develop its own cryptocurrency come immediately after Venezuela recently launched its own national oil-backed cryptocurrency Petro. Now it will be interesting to see how long Iran takes to throw its hat in the ring of crypto markets.