The Iranian Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Minister, Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi, announced recently that the Islamic Republic of Iran is working on a state cryptocurrency project. The ICT Minister, Iran’s youngest minister, says the the local project would not be affected by last week’s prohibition of local banks dealing in cryptocurrencies.
The Iranian Central Bank banned the trading of digital currency, including Bitcoin, to all banks in the region, due to concerns of money laundering and trying to avoid future sanctions for the county.
In response to this action taken by the central bank, the ICT Minister said to the news agency IRNA
“The central bank’s (ban) does not mean the prohibition or restriction of the use of the digital currency in domestic development” also added “Last week, at a joint meeting to review the progress of the (local cryptocurrency) project, it was announced that the experimental model was ready”
Azhari-Jahromi first revealed efforts toward developing a blockchain-based state cryptocurrency in February. The state crypto initiative is being led by the Post Bank of Iran, a state-owned bank based in Tehran.
“In a meeting with the board of directors of the Post Bank of Iran on digital currency based on blockchain, the necessary measures for the pilot implementation of the country’s first digital currency were set out by using the country’s elite capacity,”
Details regarding this cryptocurrency project are not available. This project follows the trend first demonstrated by Venezuela, as the bolivar (Venezuelan local currency) falls in an inflationary cycle. A similar situation is happening with the Iranian rial which recently plummeted to an all-time low. Cryptocurrency seems like a tool for countries with non-democratic tendencies to dodge financial sanctions.
by Samuel Larrael