It seems that Iran is undergoing one of the most difficult economic crisis with inflation rates of up to 127% on July 2nd. The rampant inflation is not the only issue, as political uncertainty is yet another big problem for the middle eastern country.
The Iranian government is keen on banning access to crypto exchanges ahead of the scheduled renewal of U.S. sanctions that are to take place in August and November, as reported by CoinDesk.
Crypto exchanges are a no-go in Iran
Various Iranian citizens told the publication that some of the most popular crypto exchanges out there such as Binance and LocalBitcoins are very difficult to access even with the help of virtual private networks (VPNs).
“Many people are using it as a hedge instrument because buying BTC is easier than going into the black market to buy yourself US dollars,” one Iranian source declared.
Ahmad Khalid Majidyar, director of the IranObserved Project from the Middle East Institute also declared for CoinDesk that the government is keen on not allowing its citizens to transfer foreign currency, especially dollars, outside the country.
He further told the publication: “If [diplomacy] falters, it would mean there are more restrictions, and cryptocurrency would be impacted as well.”
As harsh as the new restrictions may be, the censorship was expected for quite some time. In the final days of 2017, Iran’s anti-money laundering body strictly forbid all financial institutions from using cryptocurrencies.
The event was followed by Mohammad Reza Pourebrahimi, the head of the Iranian’s parliament economic committee, warning Iranian crypto traders that they are harming the country’s economy by spending money through international and decentralized marketplaces.
Iran could have been a breeding ground for crypto businesses
The latest events are in direct contradiction to the situation back in 2017, when Iran seemed to be on full-scale blockchain boom. International Business Times reported that in February 2018, various blockchain businesses were actively working with regulators to develop a legal financial structure for cryptocurrencies.
Still, crypto enthusiasts seem not to have lost their hope, even in the light of all that’s happened. We will have to wait and see how strong Iran’s crypto-nationalism really is.