Iran is the latest country to seek solace in cryptocurrencies, in a bid to avoid US sanctions. Following the withdrawal of the 2015 nuclear deal, the Middle Eastern Persian nation has been under pressure from spiraling economic sanctions.
Iran Bitcoin Usage
Iranians might as well turn to Bitcoin (BTC) in an attempt to circumvent the sanctions that have made it impossible to do business on the international scene. Increased usage of the cryptocurrency appears to have caught the attention of the US which has reportedly confiscated Bitcoins worth $5.77 million from some holders.
While the exact reason behind the confiscation is unclear, reports indicate that Bitcoin holders had tried to use the crypto coin to evade the imposed sanctions. It has also emerged that the seizure could have begun last year.
It comes as a surprise that people in Iran are using Bitcoin, given that the country’s de-facto central bank released new measures that prohibit the use of such assets. The ban on cryptocurrency is part of the regulator’s bid to help shore up support for the local fiat currency. The regulator has been blocking the use of cryptocurrency and claims they are unstable and risky. The same can be said of the Iranian Rial.
Cryptocurrency Adoption Push
However, the regulator may be forced to lessen its stance on cryptocurrencies if the country is to stand any chance of avoiding some of the sanctions imposed. The head of the country’s Commission of Economic Affairs (IPCEA), Mohammad Reza is already urging the central bank to rethink its stance when it comes to cryptocurrencies.
“[IPCEA has already] obliged the Central Bank of Iran to start developing proposals for the use of cryptocurrency. Over the past year or two, the use of cryptocurrency has become an important issue. This is one of the good ways to bypass the use of the dollar, as well as the replacement of the SWIFT system,” said Mr. Reza.
Iran won’t be the first country to turn to cryptocurrency in a bid to try and evade US sanctions. Venezuela has already developed its crypto dubbed Petro that it uses to facilitate its oil business.