Dec 18, 2017, 10:11 AM
News Code: 82767231
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MPs express hope, worry about bitcoin entering Iran market

Tehran, Dec 18, IRNA - Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency and worldwide payment system, is still mostly unknown in Iran’s general economic environment. A momentary silence in tandem with a bewildered look on their faces requesting more information is all the reaction most of the ordinary people in the country produce when hearing the economic term.

However, a large number of Iranians failing to know much about bitcoin and its function, usage and advantages over other currencies, does not mean that the country’s foreign exchange market is also unacquainted with this digital currency whose value has increased from almost nothing to over $18,000 in a short period of time. Bitcoin’s price has witnessed a 400-percent increase in a period of time not exceeding a year.

In fact, bitcoin has found way to Iran’s foreign currency market. Each day, the number of Iranian people who have amassed capital sufficient enough to be a steppingstone to initiating a project, tempted by the prospect of accumulating immense wealth overnight, make investments in this field.

This comes as there are two prevailing attitudes towards the trading the digital currency among those involved in Iran’s economy. Some view the presence of bitcoin in the country’s market as an opportunity and maintain that at a time when the country is still facing obstacles in establishing international banking relations, using this digital currency can prove to be an interim solution.

On the other hand, some have adopted a pessimistic view about bitcoin saying that it reminds them of the activities of those companies in Iran which were involved in multi-level marketing, also called pyramid selling, and their not so good background. Thus, they warn people against rushing recklessly into the market of bitcoin transactions.

Speaking to Iran Daily, a number of Iranian lawmakers have voiced their opinions as well as hopes and fears about bitcoin, the remarks of whom follow:

New topic

Ramezan-Ali Sobhanifar, as someone who votes in favor of bitcoin’s entry into the Iranian forex market, maintained that bitcoin is a new topic in the field of international economy.

He added in some countries, the cryptocurrency is treated as a foreign currency, whereas in some others, it is viewed as a goods on which taxes are levied.

The MP said at present, a large number of transactions are conducted using bitcoin, adding the currency is being bought and sold in Iran which is not under the supervision of the Central Bank of Iran and among the country’s banking and monetary policies.

He noted that purchasing foreign currencies in hope of selling them at higher rates will naturally and definitely impact a country’s economy.

“No particular policy has been made in the country on trading bitcoin. [Iran’s] High Council of Cyberspace and the country’s financial and monetary policymakers are required to work out an effective solution in this regard.”

Expressing optimism over the entry of bitcoin in Iran’s market, Sobhanifar said given the limitations the country is currently facing in developing banking ties and interacting with foreign banks, bitcoin can be used for carrying out foreign trade transactions and improving the country’s international financial interactions.

“It appears as if we are not faced with any particular limitation for using the currency in our international trade transactions. This phenomenon could be an opportunity for us.”

Some experts maintain that the astounding rise in the price of bitcoin is due to an economic bubble created in its market. They believe that price of this digital currency will eventually stop climbing after a short while and the market will witness a drop in bitcoin’s value.

Sobhanifar, however, held that bitcoin’s price will continue going up, adding those who have purchased the currency will benefit from their investment.

**Make no haste

Another Iranian lawmaker, Mohammad Hosseini, nevertheless, expressed doubts about bitcoin’s ability to play a positive role or have a useful function in Iran’s economy, calling on people to refrain from making haste in purchasing or selling the currency.

At a time when responsible Iranian organizations and apparatuses have not studied and identified bitcoin’s background in and impact on financial exchanges, it is not wise to buy or sell the currency, he said.

He urged the country’s security apparatuses to take the required moves and measures to ensure the safety of allowing the currency to be traded in Iran’s market.

“At the time being, a large number of people [in Iran] find conducting economic and financial transactions using bitcoin very exciting as the country has been facing a host of problems for developing relations with foreign banks due to [Western] sanctions. These people think that using bitcoin, we would be able to bypass the embargoes and that is why they are showing considerable enthusiasm [about the issue].”

He added, “This view is, however, a bit far from the present realities. Thus, related [Iranian] security apparatuses should do the follow ups in this regard.”

Hosseini added the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission is also required to enter this discussion and asks the Iranian minister of communications and information technology, Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, to provide the required explanations in this regard.

In case investing in this field is proven to be safe, people can start buying and selling the currency, he said.

**‘New phenomenon’

When faced with the issue, some attempt to adopt a moderate stance, asking for the speedy clarification of what is going on and welcoming the entry of modern technologies into the country, particularly in the field of financial interactions, among which is Mohammad-Mehdi Mofatteh, another Iranian lawmaker.

Describing bitcoin as a “new phenomenon” which requires to be studied carefully by the country’s economic experts, he said the digital currency fails to have any intrinsic value or to be supported by an individual, organization, country or central bank.

Mofatteh called the currency some sort of fiat money for the support of which no commitment has been made.

“Nevertheless, it is likely that, as is the case with other modern technologies, this digital currency would also prove to be an opportunity.”

Calling for further clarification of the issue, he predicted that other emergence of other cryptocurrencies in the future would be a possibility.

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Source: Iran Daily

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