Iran Becomes the Latest Country to Consider State-Backed Cryptocurrency

The Islamic Republic of Iran is reportedly considering a new state-run cryptocurrency not unlike the kind proposed by Russia, Estonia and Venezuela. The news comes as more nations explore cryptocurrency from the perspective of regulation, technology and government involvement.

Iranian Cryptocurrency?

According to technology minister Mohammed-Javad Azari Jahromi, Iran is exploring a new state-backed cryptocurrency following high-level meetings with the country’s central bank. News sources reported that Iranian officials have agreed to implement a new digital currency project based on cloud technology.

“In a meeting with the board of directors of Post Bank on digital currencies based on the blockchain, I … prescribed … measures to implement the country’s first cloud-based digital currency,” Jahromi said in a Wednesday tweet, according to a Bing translation obtained by CNBC.

Last year, the head of Iran’s cyber space authority said he would welcome cryptocurrencies insofar as they were properly regulated.

That being said, Iran’s position on the matter isn’t so cut and dry. A Feb. 21 report that appeared on the Iran Front Page publication suggested that government authorities are looking to “prevent” the digital currency system from taking root. The article reportedly cites the Central Bank of Iran in describing the digital asset class as “highly unreliable and risky.”

“The wild fluctuations of the digital currencies along with competitive business activities underway via network marketing and pyramid scheme have made the market of these currencies highly unreliable and risky,” the central bank said, according to Iran Front Page.

Governments Weigh In

Speculation about an Iranian cryptocurrency is significant in light of recent developments elsewhere. Earlier tshi week,, Venezuela launched a state-backed cryptocurrency that is pegged to the price of oil. President Nicholas Maduro said the digital asset raised $735 million just one day after launching. Although this may appear to be a success, skeptics say the Maduro regime is merely looking to cover the nation’s burgeoning debt.

Although several nations have been critical of cryptocurrency, they have been keen to explore its underlying technology. Other nations, such as Russia, Estonia and Kazakhstan, have considered launching their own state-backed digital currency system. Recent reports have also established a link between North Korea and cryptocurrency mining, suggesting that the Communist state was using the technology to circumvent harsh sanctions.

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. 

Author:
Chief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, 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