Bitcoin Price Hits $24,000 in Iran as Government Approves Crypto Mining Industry

Iran’s Supreme Cyberspace Council has officially recognized cryptocurrency mining as a legitimate industry, a move that could help the Islamic Republic quell the pending blowback from U.S. sanctions. The news seems to have ignited a flurry of buying interest on domestic exchanges, with the bitcoin price clocking in at a new record high of $24,000.

Bitcoin Soars on Iranian Exchanges

The $24,000 figure was quoted on multiple digital currency exchanges but most notably Exir, where BTC traded hands at a price of 1,020,000,000 IRR. That quashes the previous high of $20,000 per coin. By comparison, bitcoin traded at around $7,000 on major cryptocurrency exchanges on Wednesday.

Ethereum was also significantly inflated, with Exir quoting a price equivalent to around $900. The second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization was worth roughly $260 globally.

The buying frenzy was stoked by news that the Iranian government had formally approved cryptocurrency mining operations, with the Secretary of the Supreme Cyberspace Council announcing plans for new policy to be drafted later this month. In a statement to IBENA, a local news agency, Iran is also considering launching a national cryptocurrency as a means to facilitate transactions with international partners.

Several government authorities have reportedly accepted the Cyberspace Council’s conclusion that crypto mining is a legitimate industry, including the central bank, the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance.

Fighting Sanctions

Iran’s national currency, the rial, is in freefall after U.S. President Donald Trump re-imposed sanctions against the country, forcing many of its European partners to cut ties with the Islamic Republic.  While the European Union had expressed a desire to continue working with Iran, an ultimatum by the Trump administration has forced the region to withdraw economically. Since the sanctions were announced, over 100 companies have closed their Iranian operations.

The sanctions are also expected to hit Iranian crude exports, though the extent of the impact is not yet known. The Trump administration wants to reduce Iranian oil exports effectively to zero in November when energy sanctions are put into force. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said his country will “make every effort to continue to produce and export oil.”

Iran’s crude production fell 6.4% last month to 3.5 million barrels per day, the biggest drop among OPEC producers.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi