Iran Reminds Citizens of Crypto Ban After Using Crypto for a $10M Import Order
Iranian citizens are still barred from buying and selling cryptocurrencies in the country, according to a recent statement by the country’s officials. The statement comes days after the Middle Eastern country announced that it used crypto for foreign trade.
Iran Inks First Import Order in Crypto
Last week, Iran announced that it has completed its first crypto-based order, worth $10 million. A report by local semi-official news agency Tasnim said the country plans to widely expand its use of digital currencies and smart contracts in foreign trade by the end of next month. It quoted the Head of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) Alireza Peyman-Pak as saying:
“This week, the first official import order registration worth 10 million dollars was successfully completed using cryptocurrency. By the end of September, the use of cryptocurrencies and smart contracts will be widely used in foreign trade with target countries.”
Iran’s bold crypto move came a month after the US announced a new round of sanctions against the country. By early 2022, Iran was the most sanctioned country in the world. However, the country lost that spot after the US and its allies announced sweeping sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.
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Citizens Still Banned from Trading Crypto
Despite its historic move to use crypto in foreign trade, Iran has not lifted the ban on cryptocurrency trading. Ali Salehabadi, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), has reportedly reiterated the government’s stance against trading cryptocurrencies, reminding citizens that buying or selling crypto assets, as well as using them for investment purposes, is still prohibited.
On the other hand, authorized entities are allowed to mine crypto and use it for international settlements, Salehabadi said. He said Iranian companies can use crypto assets to pay for imports, referring to regulations adopted by the bank and other government institutions such as the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade, according to a report by the English-language edition of the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA).
The Central Bank of Iran placed a ban on trading cryptocurrencies inside the country in 2019. In the same year, the country recognized mining as a legitimate industrial activity and issued licenses to a number of enterprises.
In mid-2021, the Iranian Trade Ministry issued operating licenses for 30 crypto mining centers in the country, Financial Tribune reported. The ministry also issued 2,579 establishment permits for new industrial crypto mining units at the time, but mandated miners to sell their mined bitcoins to Iran’s central bank.
Notably, the mining operations have put unprecedented pressure on Iran’s power grids, forcing the government to cut electricity to even authorized miners at times. Nevertheless, the country is still one of the largest Bitcoin mining hubs, accounting for 4.5% of all bitcoin mining operations.
Do you think Iran’s ban on crypto trading for citizens seems hypocritical? Let us know in the comments below.