In a bid to avoid US sanctions, Iran sought solace in Bitcoin and blockchain?

  • 14 July 2019, Sunday, 16:40

Several countries across the world have joined the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency bandwagon, either in full or partial capacity. China, Russia, and Iran have made news in the cryptocurrency industry either due to positive adoption or because of integrating the ingrained technology for their own use cases.

One country that followed the latter route was Iran, which after 40 years of United States sanctions developed its own blockchain technology to build new financial infrastructure that is immune to Washington’s rules and regulations. A recent report by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies titled “Crypto Rogues: US State Adversaries Seeking Blockchain Sanctions Resistance” elucidated on how the sanctions-stricken country has embraced crypto and blockchain to its own advantage.

Ali Divandri, the head of the Central Bank of Iran’s Monetary and Banking Research Institute had earlier stated that blockchain technology “can truly revolutionize the concept of money”. The report talked about how there were hints of how the country dived into crypto back in 2017. The speculation was linked to the formation of Brave New World Investments, a Swedish blockchain startup, which was tasked with facilitating European investment in Iran via Bitcoin. Crypto Rogues added:

“The company received bitcoins from investors and planned to convert them into Iranian rial to purchase shares of local companies on the Tehran Stock Exchange. Swedish banks, however, refused to allow Brave New World to open accounts because of fears of secondary sanctions from U.S. financial authorities. A year later, Brave New World suspended its Iranian investment plans after the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) banned cryptocurrency trading for a time.”

Despite the roadblock, the Central Bank of Iran has continued to invest in the Sharif University of Technology to create the Iran Blockchain Labs. The initiative is a step taken to create an accepting environment for crypto by using it to educate people about its workings.

Iran was also in the news recently when reports emerged that Chinese miners were shifting to the western Asia country because of policy crackdowns initiated by the Chinese government. According to the Managing Director of Iran Blockchain Association, Mohammed Sharqi:

“The Chinese have made requests through official channels for cryptocurrency mining in free zones.”

Source: ambcrypto.com