Iran makes its first import worth $10 million in crypto with ‘widespread’ plans

    10 Aug 2022

    As Tasnim agency reported Tuesday, citing Alireza Peymanpak, an Iranian official from the Ministry of Industry, Mine, and Trade, the country this week executed its first official order for importing goods via the crypto payment route, worth $10 million cumulatively.

    “This week, the first official import order registration worth 10 million dollars was successfully completed using cryptocurrency,” the minister said, further revealing that by the end of next month, cryptos and smart contracts will be “widely used” in foreign trade with some target countries.

    Last year, Iran has been softening its attitude toward the crypto industry. For example, the Iranian Presidential Center for Strategic Studies called for the nation last March to mine crypto, like Bitcoin, and aid the country to tread through the international sanctions imposed.

    In June 2021, the Iranian Trade Ministry issued 30 operating licenses to Irani miners to mine cryptocurrencies, which then must be sold to Iran’s central bank. Iran is now using those mined coins for import payments.

    Per the recent report, “cryptocurrency extraction” could provide economic benefits to several different sectors of the “troubled economy.” Its authors noted that the industry could generate $2 million a day and $700 million a year in revenue from mining, with $22 million of revenues from transaction fees.

    However, some exchanges, like Binance, were in a fix recently because they continued to process trades by Iranian clients, despite US sanctions and a company ban on doing business there. It is worth noting that the US reimposed sanctions in 2018 that had been suspended three years earlier as part of Iran’s nuclear deal. In November 2018, Binance warned Iranian traders that it would no longer serve them, ordering them to liquidate their accounts.

    Meanwhile, some traders told Reuters that they “skirted” the ban. In their words, they continued to use their Binance accounts until last September. They lost access only after the exchange tightened its anti-money laundering (AML) checks.

    Also, Iran was looking this February at a central bank digital currency (CBDC) built on the Hyperledger Fabric protocol as a means to improve its existing financial infrastructure.

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