Iranian Students in UK Turn to Crypto to Get Around Sanctions

Colin Muller

Iranian students are using cryptocurrencies to receive money from home in order to pay university fees in the UK, The Guardian reported on Saturday (Dec 17). They have been unable to transfer money from Iran because of increased US-backed sanctions against banks and other entities in the western Asian country.

Hundreds of students across the UK are being affected according to IranWire.com, and there are reports of students and students’ families having to physically fly to and from the UK toting thousands of British pounds worth of cash, in order to fulfill payment obligations.

Naturally enough, some of the students have apparently turned to “Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies” to carry out the transactions, according IranWire.com. CryptoGlobe has reached out to IranWire in an attempt to get firmer figures.

Western Sanctions and National Cryptos

Iran was recently cut off from the all-important SWIFT financial messaging system, which is “part of the world’s financial plumbing” and connects 11,000 financial institutions globally. SWIFT bowed to US pressure to exclude Iran, part of Donald Trump’s attempt to force Iran to renegotiate the so-called Iran nuclear deal.

Individuals and entities in Iran, Venezuela, and Russia are currently under US and Western sanctions. CryptoGlobe has recently reported on Iran’s active development of a state-backed cryptocurrency in an attempt to work around sanctions, and on Venezuela’s intention to eventually conduct its hydrocarbon trade entirely using its state-backed Petro (PTR) cryptocurrency. (Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world.)

Freelancers for Crypto

It also seems the case that some people resort to crypto not out of distress but for convenience. CryptoGlobe recently reported on a survey from Humans.net, which found that 39% of freelancers have used cryptocurrency to be paid. The users cited reasons such as low transfer fees, security, and ease of conducting international payments with crypto versus the traditional banking networks.