Earlier this week, the government of Venezuela launched its own cryptocurrency – a coin named ‘Petro’ – and has raised over $750 million within the first 24 hours of its pre-sale.
Today, information about Iran Central Bank’s alleged plans for developing a cryptocurrency that will be administered by the state government was released by one of the high ranking government officials of the Middle-Eastern nation.
MJ Azari Jahromi, the Information and Communications Technology Minister of Iran announced the government’s plan on Twitter following a meeting with the Iran Central Bank’s Board of Directors.
In the tweet, which was written in Persian, Jahromi mentioned the notion of a “digital currency-based blockchain”, which will be used to “test the country’s first digital currency using the country’s elite capacity”. He also suggested the implementation of a “pilot model”, which will be reviewed and once approved, will be used to improve the “banking system of the country”.
در جلسهای که با هیئت مدیره پست بانک در خصوص ارزهای دیجیتال مبتنی بر زنجیره بلوکی داشتم، مقرر شد این بانک اقدامات لازم برای پیاده سازی آزمایشی اولین ارز دیجیتالی کشور را با استفاده از ظرفیت نخبگان کشور به عمل آورد. مدل آزمایشی برای بررسی و تایید به نظام بانکی کشور ارائه خواهد شد.
— MJ Azari Jahromi (@azarijahromi) February 21, 2018
Despite the auspicious announcement, there has yet to be any official statement delineating the Iranian government’s plans. If this digital currency is indeed a collaborative effort between the Iran Central Bank and the state government, the project will be following in the footsteps of countries like Venezuela, Singapore, China, and the U.K. – all of which have explored the idea of implementing a state-backed cryptocurrency in conjunction with the corresponding national banking institutions in each of those countries.
However, judging by the recent addition of the various regulations that target cryptocurrencies, it is still unsure whether the Iranian cryptocurrency will be subjected to these rules as well.
Iran’s Positive Attitude Towards Cryptocurrencies
In November of 2017, Iran’s High Council of Cyberspace (HCC) announced that it “welcomes” bitcoin as long as it adheres to the rules and regulations set by the Iranian government.
According to reports by Irani newspaper Financial Tribune, Abolhassan Firouzabadi, secretary of the country’s cyberspace authority, said: “We welcome bitcoin, but we must have regulations for bitcoin and any other digital currency … following the rules is a must.”
If the Iranian government goes through with this plan, it would give cryptocurrency the credibility it needs to flourish. Every day, more and more governments around the world are beginning to acknowledge the presence of cryptocurrencies and their importance in shaping the financial space of tomorrow. From Estonia’s Estcoin to the SEC-CFTC hearing in Washington, we all have seen the positive effects that institutional adoption has on cryptocurrencies, and we expect the same to happen with Iran.