With US sanctions back on, Iran’s economy is feeling the pinch. Inflation looks set to reach over 40 percent by the end of the year, and the country’s economy will contract by close to 5 percent next year according to the International Monetary Fund.
Desperate times, the old adage goes, call for desperate measures and Iranians, who have lived under US sanctions intermittently since 1979, are no exception. In an effort to mitigate any damaging effects the downturn on their economy may have, many are turning to cryptocurrencies.
But unlike most of the world, the government is also getting involved. At the end of October, for instance, Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali, Head of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization, implied that cryptocurrencies could be used to bypass American sanctions.
In the past, Jalali has also accused Israel of causing a draught by stealing clouds, so his words should probably be taken with a pinch of salt. Still, he isn’t the only government official to speak positively about cryptocurrencies.
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Building a Blockchain-Based Currency
Last month, a local payments company, Informatics Services Corporation, announced that it had completed the formation of a national cryptocurrency. The country’s central bank is still in the process of approving its use and, unlike Venezuela’s disastrous Petro, it appears as though it may actually one day be adopted.
Now another official has come out in praise of blockchain technology. On Sunday evening, the Tehran Times reported that Iran’s Head of Management Development for Science and Technology, Alireza Daliri, said that it could help bolster Iran’s floundering economy.
Importantly, he said that his department would “do its best to support and facilitate activities of the private sector active in the field of blockchain technology.”
Will this prove to be anything more than vacuous verbiage from corrupt officials or will Iran’s economic woes transform it into a blockchain hub? We’ll just have to wait and see.