Iran says it is preparing to launch its own digital currency in a move that many believe can help reduce the country’s vulnerability to the impacts of US-led sanctions.
Iran’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology Mohammad Azari Jahromi was quoted by the domestic media as saying that a plan was already on agenda to develop a platform for using cryptocurrency in the country.
Jahromi said the project would be led by the Post Bank of Iran, adding that the Bank was preparing to announce a tender for developing the platform.
He also emphasized that using digital money was increasingly becoming common at the international level, adding that Iran also needed to devise its own mechanisms to keep pace with other countries in the same front.
Jahromi further invited all Iranian tech experts to participate in the upcoming tender of Post Bank – a bank which is focused on e-banking and the development of Iran’s electronic banking infrastructure.
The removal of economic sanctions against Iran in 2016 led to certain openings in the country’s commercial activities with other countries. However, the country is yet to fully benefit from the removal of the sanctions because some restrictions – specifically those that concern banking transactions with Iran – still remain. Global banks and financial institutions also fail to process Iran-related transactions over fears of falling afoul of US primary sanctions that ban dollar-based services to the Islamic Republic.
The success of cryptocurrencies over the past months opened a debate in Tehran to use digital currencies to dodge the impacts of sanctions.
Certain openings for Iran to use the digital currency in overseas trade had appeared earlier.
Last March, reports emerged in media that the government of Sweden had reportedly authorized a local business to create a mechanism based on Bitcoin to transfer funds to Iran.
Brave New World Investments – a blockchain startup based in Sweden’s Linköping – was reported by the media to have been able to create an investment vehicle to invest in companies traded on the Tehran Stock Exchange based on Bitcoin.
The report added that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could be used to send funds to Iran, where they would be converted to the native Rial and used to invest in publicly traded companies on the Tehran Stock Exchange.