Iran’s High Council of Cyberspace (HCC) has opened up about its embracive approach to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin in the country.
Iran’s HCC, a prominent authority that could decide the legality of cryptocurrencies in the country, has welcomed the prospect of bitcoin in Iranian society, under well-defined regulations.
Speaking to Iranian news agency ILNA, HCC secretary Abolhassan Firouzabadi said in quotes reported by the Financial Tribune:
We [at the HCC] welcome Bitcoin, but we must have regulations for Bitcoin and any other digital currency…Our view regarding Bitcoin is positive, but it does not mean that we will not require regulations in this regard because following the rules is a must.
The official went on to reveal a robust bitcoin ecosystem in the country that sees the cryptocurrency utilized as a payment method, in financial services and even startups carving a space into a new industry altogether. “[M]any in Iran are dealing with Bitcoin, be it purchasing, selling or mining it, and even dealing with it in exchange shops, creating content and establishing startups,” Firouzabadi said. In light of its growing adoption and noteworthy price gains this year, the official confirmed that both the HCC and the Central Bank of Iran are studying cryptocurrencies to understand them.
Although bitcoin and cryptocurrencies continue to permeate into society in the absence of regulations, the central bank will soon clarify its official position on cryptocurrencies, the HCC secretary said, while adding that his agency will continue to study and evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of cryptocurrencies.
The official’s remarks come within weeks of the Central Bank of Iran’s deputy director of innovative new technologies Nasser Hakimi revealing the central bank’s foray into studying “all aspects” of bitcoin. The central banker also expressed “worrying” concerns about the “uncertainty and high risk” price fluctuations that come with bitcoin trading.
Nonetheless, the HCC secretary’s comments further underline a progressive stance among Iranian authorities in being open and even accommodating of bitcoin. Earlier this month, Iran’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) minister Amir Hossein Davaee revealed the ministry’s research “to prepare the infrastructure to use Bitcoin inside the country.”
There's a substantial reason behind the country's forward-thinking views of decentralized cryptocurrencies. Iran was discarded from the global banking system after payments network SWIFT removed Iranian banks due to economic sanctions in 2012, a blockade that lasted four years to effectively isolate Iran from global commerce.
Tehran image from Shutterstock.