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Following a decision to inflate fuel prices by 50 percent in Iran, civil unrest has broken out with a branch of the country’s central bank being set ablaze. Now, the government is striking back and could even be doing enough to cripple access.
It is being reported that the country has now imposed an almost complete nationwide internet blackout in an attempt to cut off the civilians from each other and the rest of the world in this time of anti-government unrest.
Across the globe, there have been a number of flare-ups as protestors clash with governments and governmental agencies; Hong Kong is another prime example. However, in places like Hong Kong, the civilians have been able to fight back with the financial empowerment of Bitcoin.
However, this move from the draconian Iranian government has a little bit of extra sting in it as the ‘people’s currency,’ Bitcoin, could be crippled somewhat without access to the internet.
Iran has quite a cryptic relationship with cryptocurrencies, but its stance on Bitcoin is pretty clear. The country may be rumored to be creating its own cryptocurrency but it has also banned Bitcoin. What makes this even more confusing is that the country is also one of the first to legalize Mining is the process that allows transactions to be verified, new information to be added to the database and new... More as an industry.
Iran is a country of strict and stringent controls over its citizens. This fact is expressed in the way the government runs the state and in its cryptocurrency attitude. It appreciates that the power of cryptocurrency can help it avoid sanctions and that the legalization of cryptocurrency mining can give it tax revenue, but it is not willing to allow citizens access to it.
Therefore, it is a shrewd move by the government to enact an internet ban. It is a strong power play and, arguably, one that goes against certain human rights in regards to access to information. Additionally, it also cripples access to Bitcoin and decentralized financial systems individuals can use in a crisis.
The discussion around the power of Bitcoin to help the populace in times of crisis has always been predicated on the fact that Bitcoin can be accessed whenever and by whomever. However, the digital system is totally online — which means that there is one glaring Achilles heel to it with regards to a battle with the government.
Iran may have just shown the world’s governments that oppression needs to be done on a rather broader scale if they are to restrict access to the decentralized financial system that is Bitcoin.
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