Iran Bitcoin Users Affected By US Sanctions
EghtesadOnline: Iranian sources say that some of them are no longer able to access the cryptocurrency swap platform ShapeShift, even when using virtual private networks (VPNs). As such, the sanctions appear to be already impacting Iranians who want to make lawful use of cryptocurrencies.
Some of the favored wallets among Iranians are Electrom, Atomic, Exodus, Samourai Wallet and Wasabi Wallet, especially its CoinJoin feature that sends many transactions in batches all at once to make it harder to track specific wallets. According to several Iranian developers, interest in the privacy coin zcash is also far more common these days, Bitcoin Desk reported.
An anonymous developer in Tehran, who has traded ethereum for bitcoin on global exchanges then sent the bitcoin to his own wallet, concurred that security and privacy are the two primary attributes he looks for in a wallet.
“Cutting a whole country off from global business is cruel,” the developer said, also affirming that laws should curtail criminal activity. However, most mainstream cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase will reject transactions connected to forbidden coins even several steps removed. As such, the criminal actions of a few may have ripple effects across Iran’s burgeoning community of retail buyers and users, Financial Tribune reported.
For less tech-savvy bitcoin users who might struggle with tracking blockchain data for specific coins, these listings present a significant risk.
Attorney Steve Middlebrook tweeted that anyone who received bitcoin from those sanctioned addresses should “hold the coins and notify the feds.”
On the other hand, Attorney Nelson Rosario, who specializes in blockchain technology at Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP, tweeted an open question regarding how users could “clean” bitcoin from a sanctioned bitcoin wallet address. Could cooperating with US authorities really help innocent bystanders avoid blacklists?
In the meantime, the Iranian Mining Industry is booming with fresh crops of untainted bitcoin.
Thanks to Iran’s subsidized electricity offerings that make cryptocurrency mining relatively affordable, mining operations continue to grow despite global price dips.
“I’m trying to expand the mining industry and [bitcoin’s] use case for business in Iran,” Javad Sedighi, a miner based in Isfahan, said, adding that he wants to help build a world with fewer sanctions and censorship. “Bitcoin users in Iran are mostly young people who are interested in technology.”
Much like Sedighi, Tehran-based developer Saad said that political complications only boost their dedication to promoting mainstream adoption.
Governments cannot freeze privately held and operated bitcoin wallets themselves. So, the more that people store and transact with bitcoin by themselves, the less that lawful users need to fear discrimination.
“When cryptos become so common and globally accepted, these measures don’t work,” said Saad.
As such, choosing a bitcoin wallet with strong privacy features is important for those who, in some ways, are literally becoming their own banks.
The anonymous developer in Tehran told CoinDesk that, despite the political tensions, bitcoin’s unique value proposition is inspiring more local engineers to learn about blockchain and start experimenting with uses of the tech.
“Public adoption would be the best thing I can wish for,” he added.
The United States on Wednesday indicted two Iranians for launching a major cyber attack using ransomware known as “SamSam” and sanctioned two others for helping exchange the ransom payments from Bitcoin digital currency into rials.