Iran Introduces Legal Framework for Crypto Despite Ongoing Mining Ban

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In Brief
  • Iran moves toward further crypto legislation.

  • The government stresses public awareness of digital currencies.

  • Mining still banned until the end of the summer Iranian government says.

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This week the Iranian government released a statement regarding the need for a legal framework for crypto activities within the country.

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The President, Hassan Rouhani, said that the economic intelligence program is a “requirement” to preserve and guard the country’s national interests. The statement comes as the field of digital currencies and emerging blockchain technology is evermore in the limelight. Iran joins various countries in ramping up the understanding and development of crypto-based legal infrastructure needed to stay on top of the space. 

However, this is not the first time Iran considered crypto regulations. In mid-2020, lawmakers prompted the country’s central bank to take the matters of digital currency more seriously. 

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The recent statement doesn’t just mention impending legal developments involving crypto. Rouhani also stressed the need to raise awareness among the people. He called it ‘necessary’ and warned people to not enter the space ignorantly or unprofessionally. 

He stated,

“The responsible agencies in the field of capital markets should cooperate with the media and cyberspace in the field of information, education and public awareness about this phenomenon and its instructions and laws.”

On the onset of the global pandemic, Iran made friendly comments towards cryptocurrencies. The Minister of Health encouraged the entire country to avoid using physical money and utilize digital currencies. Of course, at the time, the reason being for social sanitary practices. However, the comment nonetheless backs up the ever appealing use cases of digital currencies.  

Mining ban on crypto continued

Despite these crypto-forward comments from the Iranian head of state, crypto mining remains banned. At least until the end of the summer, that is. The President clarified that the stance on mining hasn’t changed. The Ministries of Communication and Information Technology and Energy remain responsible for keeping power from known mining facilities.

Crypto mining in Iran took off due to the country’s low electricity prices. The past few years saw an increase in the number of mining operations. At first, the government set out to create a strategy in order to capitalize on the development. 

However, the stance on mining continues to be shaky. Early this year, the government imposed a fine on local miners for using household electricity to run their operations. Following the issuance of fines, reports surfaced of the government using spies to uncover miners and their illegal operations. A few weeks ago, the country faced rolling blackouts, which prompted miners to shut down their operations. The government released a statement which included the implementation of fines for those caught mining. 

As Iran makes room for crypto legislation, it remains uncertain if the country can be a hospitable environment for a larger crypto-community. 

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Savannah Fortis is a multimedia journalist covering stories at the intersection culture, international relations, and technology. Through her travels she was introduced to the crypto-community back in 2017 and has been interacting with the space since.

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