It is illegal to buy or sell cryptocurrencies in Iran, the head of the country’s monetary authority recently reminded citizens and businesses. The governor, however, noted that mining cryptocurrencies and using them for payment of imports is not against the law in the Islamic Republic.
Top banker confirms crypto trading is still illegal in Iran
Buying and selling cryptocurrencies or using digital assets for investment purposes is prohibited, Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Governor Ali Salehabadi recently told local media. At the same time, authorized persons and entities can legally mine crypto which can be used for international settlements, the official pointed out.
Referring to regulations passed by the bank and other government institutions such as the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade two years ago, the CBI chief clarified that it is legal for Iranian companies to pay for imports with cryptocurrency. He was quoted in a report by the English-language edition of the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) on Friday.
Salehabadi’s comments came after Deputy Trade Minister Alireza Peymanpak on Tuesday announced Iran’s first import order using cryptocurrency as a payment method. The government official, who also heads the National Trade Promotion Organization, revealed that the Islamic Republic purchased $10 million worth of goods using digital coins.
However, the Iranian authorities are unwilling to allow crypto payments in Iran and earlier this year Deputy Minister of Communications Reza Bagheri Asl dashed all hopes in this regard. Crypto trading and investing is also not tolerated, and the government has cracked down on local exchanges, allowing only banks and licensed moneychangers to use digital currency mined in Iran to pay for imports.
Since 2019, when authorities in Tehran recognized mining as a legitimate industrial activity, a number of companies have been allowed to mint digital currencies like bitcoin. But energy-intensive generation has been blamed as one of the causes of growing power shortages and blackouts across the country, especially during hot summers when consumption spikes due to rising demand for electricity. cooling, and the cold winter months, when heating needs increase.
As a result, registered crypto farms have been asked to shut down their power-hungry equipment on more than one occasion over the past two years, while Iran’s power generation, transmission and distribution company, Tavanir, s comes under attack on illegal miners who have destroyed thousands of crypto underground. farms.
Illegal installations often operate with subsidized electricity in residential areas. Last month, the utility promised tough action against this type of unauthorized mining. ILNA cites an estimate from Iranian officials who claim that a single bitcoin mining machine consumes as much energy as 24 households.
In his interview, Governor Salehabadi also drew viewers’ attention to the CBI’s plan to introduce a “crypto rial”, or a central bank digital currency issued by Iran’s monetary authority, which is expected to partially replace paper money. In April, the central bank notified financial institutions of upcoming regulations regarding the issuance of a digital rial, indicating that it was preparing to pilot the CBDC.
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