Is Iran in talks to launch a centralised cryptocurrency?
According to reports, Iran has stepped up its efforts to launch a centralised cryptocurrency run by its central bank, falling in line with a trend of ‘national cryptocurrencies’ over the past year.
Like Venezuela – another country currently under financial sanctions from the U.S – and its Petro Coin, Iran is attempting to launch a digital currency that would be controlled, monitored and distributed by its central bank.
“In a meeting with the board of directors of Post Bank on digital currencies based on the blockchain, I … prescribed … measures to implement the country’s first cloud-based digital currency,” Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, minister of Iran’s Ministry of Information and Communications Technology said, according to a rough internet translation.
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
Iran’s status on crypto has been a difficult one to judge of late, with the news of a centrally organised token coming after it condemned Bitcoin. “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,” the central bank was quoted as saying in a Farsi report.
The move isn’t unprecdented in thought, with China, Russia, Singapore and the U.K all exploring ways in which a national crypto currency could be implemented and managed. Venezuela’s Petro, which is backed by the country’s oil, has seen a sharp dip in price, which has seen many investors to go back to Bitcoin. The most famous digital currency in world isn’t exactly stable, though.
But the dip in Petro hasn’t wavered Venezuela’s appetite for crypto; it’s currently set to become the first nation to have two official currencies running out of its central government, with Petro Oro – a token backed by precious metals such as gold – set to launch next week, according to reports.
The moves by countries currently under financial sanctions to start their own forms of digital currencies has been seen by many as a way to avoid those very sanctions, moves condemned by the wider crypto communities.