The central bank of Iran is undertaking a comprehensive study on cryptocurrencies with a particular spotlight on bitcoin.
In a news conference yesterday, the Central Bank of Iran’s deputy director of innovative new technologies Nasser Hakimi revealed the authority’s intent to examine all aspects of Bitcoin as a part of its research agenda. The central bank will then follow up its study with a complete review of its policies on cryptocurrencies. The central bank official highlighted “uncertainty and high risk” price fluctuations as a major concern. As is the trend of investors risking their capital in bitcoin due to ‘speculation’ that was ‘worrying’, according to Hakimi.
He went on to add:
Given that bitcoin and other currencies have not been introduced by the central bank as the official currency, as well as the risk of buying it and the activity of traders in this field, we want investors and people to follow precautions that are coming into the market, due to the possibility of malice.
Hakimi’s comments on cryptocurrencies came during a press conference focused on the central bank’s agenda for the financial technology sector.
While the central bank official’s remarks were predominantly centered around “worrying” aspects of cryptocurrencies, as he puts it, the revelation comes at a time when Iran is looking at digital currencies and, in particular, bitcoin, as viable legal tender in the country.
Earlier this month, Iran’s minister for information and communication technology (ICT) revealed the ministry’s research to “prepare the infrastructure to use Bitcoin inside the country.” Indeed, Hakimi himself underlined bitcoin as “an opportunity” for Iran, in a recent interview, in the aftermath of a four-year banking blackout that saw global payments rail SWIFT remove Iran from its network to effectively isolate Iran’s banks from global commerce, a move that crippled its economy.
Elsewhere in the region, the Kingdom of Bahrain (separated from Iran by the Persian Gulf) has also expressed an interest in adopting bitcoin. Speaking at an innovation forum in September, a Bahrain government official with the Economic Development Board said “we are open to bitcoins” while revealing talks with a Saudi Arabian bitcoin exchange operator to open an exchange in the constitutional monarchy of islands. The official also suggested that the state could issue bonds on a digital currency.
Iran banknote image from Shutterstock.