Is U.S. Congress blocking Iran's crypto mining?

06 Jul, 2019
by David Robb
News
Is U.S. Congress blocking Iran's crypto mining?

An Iranian official has accused the U.S. Congress of blocking Iran's efforts to mine cryptocurrency. The statement was made by Said Zarandi, the Assistant Minister of Industry, Trade, and Supply, as reported by CoinTelegraph (via farsnews.com). 

The use of Bitcoin and other cryptos in evading international sanctions has been one of the key issues for legislators when approaching the regulation of the space. Along with North Korea, which has been proven to be behind the vast majority of crypto exchange hacks over recent years, Iran is the other nation that causes most concern, particularly for the U.S.

So, this statement from Zarandi suggesting that Congress is working to block Iran's access to crypto is definitely true, although the extent of these efforts is unclear. Towards the end of May, the P2P crypto trading platform LocalBitcoins ceased offering services to users in Iran, after a surge in trading activity. Crypto trading has been popular in the Middle Eastern nation, due to general economic uncertainty. The country also benefitted from harsher rules on BTC mining in China, as many Chinese miners chose to move their operations to Iran.

However, the statement from the Iranian official also mentioned the use of Bitcoin for illicit activities within Iran, and insisted that steps would need to be taken to properly legislate. The country's central bank recently discussed the possibility of launching its own state-backed crypto to improve its economic fortunes, although these plans may now have been shelved. Venezuela's attempt to do something similar has largely been unsuccessful so far.

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