The Islamic Republic of Iran has unveiled an “experimental” digital coin weeks after the country’s apex bank barred individuals from transacting cryptocurrency. On April 23rd, Iranian central bank ordered all local banks in the country to stop conducting cryptocurrency transactions, saying that such practice is outlawed in the country.
When speaking to IRNA, a local news agency, the Information and Communications Technology Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi said the ban would not affect the development of the experimental digital currency. The central bank’s ban he said, “does not mean the prohibition or restriction of the use of the digital currency in domestic development.”
Azari-Jahromi at a joint meeting held last week to discuss the current state of the experimental cryptocurrency project denoted that “the experimental model was ready.” According to a tweet the minister made in February, he the existence of the project although, he did not give a particular launch date.
The Central Bank of Iran (CBI), which regulates banking activities in the country, gave the instruction in an efforts to address concerns of money laundering as the country battles with effects of its currency devaluation and also to halt a currency crisis ahead of possible future U.S sanctions. The CBI banned money changing outside of banks, after its currency, the Rial, plunged to its lowest form in many years.
Following public fear that the United States would enforce economic sanctions against Iran by May due to its involvement with nuclear enrichment technology, the market value of Rial, the official currency of Iran dropped significantly forcing the government to merge the two exchange rates—official and parallel market rates.
Countries faced with sanctions can be lured into using cryptocurrency to bypass the sanctions; an approach that could involve the creation of a local cryptocurrency project like the Petros toke which was launched in Venezuela.