EghtesadOnline: According to the chairman of Iran Blockchain Community, some virtual currency exchanges have imposed restrictions on Iranian users following Iran’s exit from the list of eligible countries to trade in cryptocurrencies, but no assets belonging to Iranians have been blocked.
Speaking to IBENA, Sepehr Mohammadi said several cryptocurrency exchanges especially in the US, including the two giants Binance and Bittrex have unofficially removed Iran from of the list of eligible countries to receive services following the enforcement of new US sanctions on Iran that came into effect on Monday.
As doing trade with Iranian users can cause trouble for the exchanges, the companies have unofficially informed their Iranian users to withdraw their money to avoid being blocked. As of now, US cryptocurrency exchanges have not blocked Iranian accounts and there have not been any problems for Iranian users.
However it is recommended that the assets of Iranian accounts be transferred to other websites which are still authorized to trade with Iranians, Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.
“No cryptocurrency belonging to Iranians has been blocked in recent months and reports stating otherwise are not true,” Mohammadi said.
Referring to obstacles regarding trading and using cryptocurrencies, he said there are issues in and outside the country. Cryptocurrency exchanges were operating with transparency up until April and they were collaborating with Iran’s Cyber Police (FATA).
"However after the release of an announcement by the High Council of Anti-Money Laundering stating that using bitcoins falls in the realm of money laundering, pressure related to bitcoins increased and domestic cryptocurrency exchanges stopped functioning," he said.
"Subsequently, cryptocurrency trade took a rather illegal and obscure twist in that there is no data on such deals in the country whatsoever. This has increased the likelihood of fraud simply because there are no regulations or proper infrastructure and trade is conducted based on trust."
On April 21, the Central Bank of Iran officially banned all financial institutions, including banks and credit institutions, from handling cryptocurrencies and said the decision is based on the shadier side as Iran strives to improve adherence to intentional standards guiding transparency of financial and monetary institutions.
“Because many virtual currencies have the capability to become instruments for money laundering and financing terrorism, as well as facilitating organized crime, the supervisory wing of the central bank has notified the ban on employing virtual currencies to banks to prevent wrongdoing and crime,” the CBI said in a statement.
Mohammadi added that mangers of cryptocurrency exchanges and miners are awaiting CBI policies related to cryptocurrencies to be able to commence and expand their activities.
“I believe Iran can reduce the pressures of US sanctions by utilizing cryptocurrencies.”
Circumventing US sanctions with the help of cryptocurrencies has always been a talking point when it comes to Iran, especially since the country is developing its own national virtual currency. Some officials in Tehran have advocated the use of the virtual currency to boost trade with overseas partners.