The leading crypto industry association in Iran has slammed authorities for their passive stance regarding crypto regulation. The government’s inaction is a source of concern, the organization said, offering its assistance to regulators whom it considers not sufficiently qualified to deal with the complex issue.
Tehran authorities such as the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) are not capable of regulating cryptocurrencies, according to the head of the Iran Blockchain Association (IBA). Тhe country’s main organization representing members of the crypto sector called for the establishment of an “independent counsel” to take on the job. During a press conference this week, the head of the IBA, Abbas Ashtiani, elaborated:
We need a special council of representatives from state bodies and private enterprise to craft regulations for cryptocurrencies. The CBI or the Security and Exchange Organization are not qualified [enough] to set rules for cryptos given the multidimensionality of the issue.
Iran’s crypto space remains largely unregulated. In April, the central bank authorized domestic banks and money exchangers to use locally mined cryptocurrencies to pay for imports to the sanctioned nation, but authorities went after other digital coin trading and crypto payments are banned inside the country.
Cryptocurrency mining is the most regulated sector since Tehran recognized it as a legal industrial activity in 2019. Mining companies are required to obtain a license from the Ministry of Industries in order to operate in the Islamic Republic and around 50 entities have already done so, official data showed earlier this year. The ministry has reportedly stopped accepting new applications following a ban imposed by the Prosecutor General’s office.
“The growing interest in mining and crypto trade has prompted authorities to craft a roadmap for the crypto business. But it seems that that does not go far enough,” the English-language business daily Financial Tribune noted in its report on the IBA’s proposal. The publication quotes experts who claim the issue is more complex than other regulatory challenges and that is why institutions have been reluctant to take responsibility for regulation.
Ashtiani criticized the executive power in Tehran, warning that its inaction regarding cryptocurrencies has become a source of concern. He further remarked that the former government had plans to regulate the space but they were never realized and slammed the administration of recently elected President Ebrahim Raisi for having no plan at all. The entire crypto matter is so down below the do-list that “we have still not been able to hold a meeting with the policy and decision-makers,” he revealed.
Commenting on the concerns expressed by officials regarding illegal activities related to the minting and exchange of cryptocurrencies, Ashtiani emphasized that the Iran Blockchain Association understands policymakers and assured that “their reservations can and will be addressed.” The head of the IBA also insisted:
We are ready to help set rules that can help ensure a positive impact of cryptos on the economy while minimizing criminality.
According to industry watchers, lack of sufficient knowledge and awareness is what lies behind the government’s worries about the growing popularity of crypto assets which have been attracting capital from Iran’s traditional markets. However, some officials have already opposed restrictive policies warning that they can push innovative solutions underground.
“This is what has happened in Iran’s cryptocurrency market. Our studies show that 50% of crypto activities are in the informal market. This is while supportive regulations could enhance the contribution of digital currency to the economy,” Gholamreza Marhaba, spokesman of the parliamentary Economic Commission, has been quoted as saying.
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