Reports & Analysisاخبار ایران

Buying and selling digital currencies is not free; Ambiguity in the Iranian market


Buying and selling digital currencies is not free; The statement was made two days ago by Abdul Nasser Hemmati, the Governor of the Central Bank of Iran, and caused a wave of concern among activists, especially digital currency investors in Iran. It is not clear whether this refers to a complete ban on digital currency transactions in Iran, or simply to deny licenses to exchanges and leave the space unregulated. Also, the main question is what will be the capital obligation of digital currency investors in Iran?

Two days ago, the Governor of the Central Bank of Iran, Abdolnasser Hemmati, announced in a rather transparent interview that several exchanges would soon be introduced to buy and sell bitcoins in which miners could sell their currency.

In response to a reporter’s question about whether the sale and purchase of bitcoins will be released in Iran or not, he said that the sale and purchase of bitcoins will not be free among individuals and only a few exchanges will be introduced to sell foreign exchange from bitcoin mining and similar activities. .

Given that dozens of digital currency exchanges operate in the form of websites or applications in Iran, users on social networks soon reacted to this issue. Some talk about a complete ban on digital currency transactions in Iran and the closure of exchange offices, and another group believes that “not free” transactions do not mean a “ban” on transactions and only exchange offices are not allowed to continue the gray space without regulations in this area. Time will tell who is right.

Status of digital currency exchanges in Iran

In 1996, with the rise in the price of digital currencies and the increase of traders in this field in Iran, a large number of digital currency exchanges that operated without a license were filtered. At that time, most exchange offices were forced to close or change their domain to continue operating.

After a while, with the establishment of new exchange intermediaries and with the help of various associations and working groups in the field of blockchain and fintech, the pressures were slightly reduced and some exchanges were filtered. Exchange offices that could not be removed from the filter were able to continue their activities by changing the domain address of the site.

Currently, no online digital currency exchange in Iran has an official license from the Central Bank, but until recently, digital currency transactions in Iran were carried out almost without a word.

Digital currency traders in Iran

With the sharp rise in the price of digital currencies in recent months, Iranian online exchanges seem to be in high demand from traders. According to statistics from the Alexa platform, which ranks sites in terms of visits, the number of visits to some digital currency exchanges in Iran has reached several million per day.

Estimates show that more than 500,000 users have created accounts in Iranian digital currency exchanges, and according to surveys, a significant portion of these people keep their digital currencies in the wallets of the exchange so that they can trade more easily.

Wrong position of the central bank

To clarify the recent remarks of the Governor of the Central Bank, the Digital Currency website spoke with Berdia Ahmadnia, co-founder of the Vallex Digital Currency Exchange.

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Co-founder of Vallex Digital Currency Exchange

Regarding the recent remarks of the Central Bank Governor, Mr. Ahmadnia said that the exchange offices announced by the Central Bank will probably be traditional exchange offices.

While acknowledging that the field of digital currencies should not be left without law, he said:

There is no doubt that this area should be legislated, but if this area becomes illegal, which is also being pursued by the central bank, because they do not have the technical capacity and knowledge, I must say that something bad will happen.

Berdia Ahmadnia did not rule out the possibility of banning digital currency transactions in Iran, but warned that this could lead to underground activities:

Currently, there is a good number in exchange offices operating inside Iran. I can boldly say that in the first five exchanges, a good number are circulating in them, and if this field becomes illegal today, the percentage of all these rotations will decrease. For example, if it decreases by ten percent, it will all be ten percent underground.

Announcing that the volume of the digital currency market in Iran is over $ 200 million, he said:

Today, when the market size of Iran is $ 200 million, even if ten percent goes underground, it means that the government can not monitor, stop money laundering on $ 20 million or help the field to be formed legally, and that $ 20 million in total It will be done without government supervision. So this is the first challenge of outlawing.

He continued:

In Iran, what is always done well is to underground only one area, which I think is a mistake.

Berdia Ahmadnia did not consider it logical that digital currency transactions take foreign currency out of the country and added:

The legalization of this area means that capital can be circulated in domestic exchanges, and thank God, in these three or four years, users have been able to trust domestic exchanges, and I think if this area becomes illegal, all the people who trade in large exchanges today. They do, they all go to foreign exchange offices.

He denied that people should blame the government if the price of digital currencies fell, saying:

Anyone looking at the price of bitcoin will see that bitcoin has risen from $ 20,000 to $ 3,000 at some point and is trading at $ 50,000 today. The user has seen the damage with his own eyes and accepts it.

Co-founder of Vallex Digital Currency Exchange stated that the central bank’s strategy to introduce traditional exchanges in order to cash out bitcoin miners is not possible:

I think it is quite impossible to say that we are announcing four or five traditional exchanges where people can sell their currency from mining and trading. Instead, the government can authorize online exchanges and tell us, for example, that whoever came sells the currency on your platform. We, who do the authentication of individuals, can also do legal authentication.

Ahmadnia also warned about the entry of brokers and intermediaries in case the transactions become illegal:

If the central bank decides today to outlaw this area, where should people sell their Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin? What happens is that all this currency will leave the country. I have no doubt that 50% of the turnover will leave the country in different ways. In the meantime, there are intermediaries who are kind of brokers in this market. These brokers, for example, say I buy 10 or 20 percent cheaper than you and sell the currency to you in foreign markets and deliver the money. In the midst of this, scams increase and ambiguities arise as to where I know how to get my money. These are also challenges that I do not think the central bank sees today. He does not see a person who has a digital currency and does not know what to do with it and where to sell it with the ban in this area.

You can listen to some of Mr. Ahmadnia’s speeches in the following audio file:



Time determines everything

In the coming days or weeks, the status of digital currency trading regulations in Iran is likely to become clearer, and legislators are likely to state their final position.

Regarding the status of users’ capital in exchange offices, the Digital Currency website interviewed two experts in the field who did not want to be named, both of whom believed that digital currency transactions would not be banned in Iran, but even if transactions were completely banned, users would still have a chance. Withdraw their currencies from exchange offices to wallets. However, experts warn that anything could happen and traders should be more careful these days.

According to experts, due to the decentralized nature of digital currencies, if digital currencies are stored in a personal wallet, it will not endanger the users’ capital, but digital currency transactions may face challenges.

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