Iran Minister Indicates Support for Blockchain, Both Public and Private Uses

Colin Muller

In another instance of state-backed blockchain interest, Iran’s Deputy for Management Development and Resources Alireza Daliri publically signalled his government’s support to develop and use blockchain platforms, according to the Tehrantimes.com.

Mr. Daliri, representing the office of the Vice President of Science and Technology, mentioned his ministry’s interest in both public and private implementations of blockchain tech. Initiatives currently being considered include blockchain’s use to shorten governmental bureaucracy processes, a “taxi app,” and the office’s general assistance to the private sector.

Concurring with a recent report from the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum, Daliri emphasized that “digital identity” and “blockchain-based central bank digital currencies” are “key [areas] for governments to focus on.”

State-Backed Crypto

Daliri’s comments are sparse on details, but Iran has of late made definitive statements about its commitment to a develop and use a state-backed cryptocurrency.

CryptoGlobe reported last month on the country’s plans to introduce a cryptocurrency issued by its own central bank, which had by then reached the testing phase. This move is largely seen as an attempt to conduct bilateral commerce with other countries without the use of global financial systems. Russia and Venezuela have been inching toward similar moves, as CryptoGlobe has recently reported.

Iran is currently subject to a number of US-backed economic sanctions, including from the Belgium-based SWIFT financial messaging system. SWIFT is “part of the world’s financial plumbing” and connects 11,000 financial institutions globally - thus being excluded from it is extremely debilitating. SWIFT bowed to US pressure to block service to Iranian banks, which has caused a political rift between the US and EU in light of the damage it could cause to the so-called Iran nuclear deal - a hard-won political jewel in Barack Obama’s crown.

A number of cryptoasset exchanges - Binance, BitMEX, Bittrex - have voluntarily conceded to the sanctions, suspending service to Iranian users. CryptoGlobe also reported this week on the predicament of some Iranians living abroad, unable to transfer money because of the sanctions, turning to crypto as a means of exchange.