The previous week was marked by an exceptional event for cryptocurrency on a national level: Deputy Minister of Industry, Mining and Trade in Iran Alireza Peymanpak announced that the country has created its official import order, worth about $10 million, nominated in cryptocurrency.
The details of the order are unclear. The government didn’t specify the exact token used, and the counterparty remains unknown.
The order is presumed to have been placed for the import of cars. In his twitter, Peymanpak promised that similar crypto-nominated deals in foreign trade are to be concluded by the end of September.
However, the Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Ali Salehabadi warned, that trading and investing in cryptocurrency in Iran is still illegal. He highlighted that the law only allows mining of cryptocurrency (with official permission) and only to be used for international settlements. These approvals were mainly done to support business on the international stage so that they could conduct transactions with foreign partners.
The CBI Chief also shared that they have intentions to launch their own digital currency to replace the national banknote. At the beginning of the year, the CBI intended to launch a pilot project in the coming future.
The whole cryptocurrency deal looks like a forced step caused by the sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran’s access to the international banking system. Cryptocurrency settlement allows the country to conduct international trades through digital assets after decades of economic restrictions. Earlier in the year some concerns were expressed by Western nations regarding Russia’s possible use of digital tokens to circumvent sanctions. Only now, this idea has been publicly turned into reality by Iran, the second most sanctioned country in the world after Russia.
All in all, it is a peculiar precedent. It would be interesting to know, how many counterparties will switch to crypto-nominated contracts and what the reaction of the US will be.