It is illegal to buy or sell cryptocurrency in Iran, the head of the country’s monetary and credit administration recently reminded citizens and companies. However, the governor noted that mining cryptocurrencies and using them to pay for imports is not against the law in the Islamic Republic.
A top banker confirms that cryptocurrency 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 told local media recently. At the same time, authorized persons and organizations can legally mine cryptocurrency, which can be used for international payments, the official noted.
Citing regulations adopted by the bank and other government agencies such as the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Commerce two years ago, the CBI chief clarified that Iranian companies can pay for imports with cryptocurrency. He was quoted by the English-language edition of Iran’s Labor News Agency (ILNA) on Friday.
Salehabadi’s comments came after Deputy Trade Minister Alireza Peymanpak announced on Tuesday Iran’s first import order using cryptocurrency as a payment method. A government official, who also heads the National Trade Facilitation Organization, said the Islamic Republic bought $10 million worth of goods using digital coins.
However, Iranian authorities are reluctant to allow cryptocurrency payments inside Iran, and earlier this year Deputy Communications Minister Reza Bagheri Asl dashed any hopes of doing so. Crypto trading and investment are also not allowed, and the government has cracked down on local exchanges, allowing only banks and licensed exchangers to use the Iranian-mined digital currency to pay for imports.
Since 2019, when Tehran authorities recognized mining as a legal industrial activity, a number of businesses have been licensed to mint digital currencies such as Bitcoin. But energy-intensive manufacturing has been blamed for increasing power shortages and blackouts across the country, especially during hot summers when consumption spikes due to rising demand for cooling, and in the cold winter months when heating is needed. to increase
As a result, registered crypto farms have been repeatedly ordered to shut down their energy-intensive equipment over the past two years, and Iran’s Electricity Generation, Transmission and Distribution Company Tavanir has been cracking down on illegal miners who have cracked thousands of underground cryptocurrencies. farms
Illegal facilities often operate on subsidized electricity in residential areas. Last month, the utility promised to take strict action against this type of unauthorized mining. ILNA cites an estimate by Iranian officials who claim that one Bitcoin mining machine consumes as much energy as 24 households.
In his interview, Governor Salehabadi also drew the audience’s attention to the CBI’s plan to introduce a “crypto-real” or central bank digital currency issued by the Monetary Authority of Iran, which is expected to partially replace paper cash. In April, the central bank informed financial institutions about upcoming regulations regarding the issuance of the digital riyal, indicating that it was preparing to pilot a CBDC.
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