You probably associate Iran with things such as oil, sanctions, and trade wars. There is news coming out of the Middle Eastern country that will have associating it with something new. This is after the country recognized crypto mining as an industry within its borders.
According to the Iranian government’s chamber of commerce, industries, mines, and agriculture, an economic commission approved crypto mining on Sunday, and the government is now searching for ways to regulate crypto mining within the country’s exiting legal framework. According to the central bank of Iran governor Abdolnaser Hemmati; “A mechanism to mine digital coins was approved by the government’s economic commission and will later be put to discussion at a cabinet meeting,”
The country’s deputy minister for electricity and energy Homayun Haeri also chimed in, saying that government ministers would be voting to approve an electricity rate for mining farms. The Iranian government had been pondering on whether to approve crypto mining as an industry or not; as two crypto mining farms were shut in the country just last month. Deputy Minister Haeri had also voiced opposition to subsidizing crypto mining efforts in the past as well.
Despite the deputy minister’s opposition in the past, and the government’s indifference towards crypto, the region has been a major attraction to crypto miners due to cheap electricity rates. With the government now having a change of tune towards the space, it’s unclear whether government officials are changing their stance on using cryptocurrencies for domestic payments. The central bank had grabbed headlines in the country by recommending that crypto usage for domestic payments be barred back in January. The top bank received major pushback from local industry players who vehemently opposed such a ban.
Iran’s crypto journey has been complicated, and somewhat unique, though some things have remained the same. Iran has not been free from malicious crypto actors. Two Iranians were listed on the U.S State department office of foreign asset control (OFAC’s) sanctions list for Bitcoin activities. The two Ali Khorashadizadeh and Mohammad Ghorbaniyan, were sanctioned by the OFAC for their alleged roles in facilitating payments for the SamSam ransomware.
Iran’s decision to recognize crypto mining comes at a time when negative crypto sentiments have been given by top officials in the U.S government; which is Iran’s arch-nemesis. U.S president Donald trump has said quite unflattering things about the crypto space, implying that BTC was not real and that the U.S dollar remained the country’s real currency. His strong sentiments may have received major pushback, but one has to wonder whether such sentiment is the reason behind the country’s lackluster show in terms of crypto innovation compared to other jurisdictions.
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