Details Emerge on Iran’s XLM-Based Gold-Backed Cryptocurrency

Iran’s new gold-backed cryptocurrency “PayMon” will be technically based on the Stellar Lumens (XLM) network (which is an open-source codebase), and will trade in “special exchange offices.” These details emerged during a Sputnik interview with Hamid Reza Shaabani, founder of Iranian blockchain company ArzDigital.

As CryptoGlobe reported earlier this month, a company called Ghoghnoos (ققنوس - “phoenix” or “gryphon”in Persian) and four national banks are cooperating with Iranian authorities to produce the PayMon system.

The principal aim of PayMon is to provide a way for Iran to trade around US-sponsored sanctions, which have been increasing under Donald Trump’s push to scuttle (and renegotiate) the Obama-era “Iran deal.”

Commenting on the potential fulfilment of gold for tokens, Shaabani said that the “contract with [Ghoghnoos] stipulates that token holders can receive gold, but the details are not clear yet.” He also said that the crypto will be mostly traded by “special exchange offices,” adding that “It's likely that currencies will be traded in major international currency exchange points.”

Golden Ticket

Iran has been seeking to increase its internal mining production of gold and other precious metals such as copper, in the wake of sanctions which partially targeted these items. Gold has been used in past years to get around sanctions, specifically those that predated the Iran Deal. Gold has helped Iran funnel billions of dollars around sanctions, via Turkey and Turkish nationals.

It is little wonder then that the Central Asian country has eventually thawed to the idea of a cryptocurrency, which is capable of transferring value with uncensorable impunity depending on how it is designed.

Iran joins the Venezuelan government among countries to adopt a state-backed crypto, with Russia also playing with the idea - all for the same general purpose of skirting US-backed sanctions.

Also in the realm of centralized, non-public stablecoins, the JPMorgan Chase mega-bank launched its own a few days ago. The coin will not be widely available, with only entities vetted by the bank having access to the private crypto.

Russia Will Not Legalize Facebook's Libra Says Top Official

A top Moscow official has said that Facebook's planned new cryptocurrency Libra will not be legalized Russia, according to a report this week from Russia's state-run news agency TASS.

Anatoly Aksakov, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Financial Markets, said Russia would not legalise the Libra stablecoin, due for launch next year, as it may pose a threat to the country's financial system.

No Russian Liberty for Libra

While Aksakov acknowledged Russians would be able to buy Libra on international cryptocurrency exchange platforms, he warned that the creation of any domestic mechanisms of exchange would be limited, or even prohibited.

TASS quoted Aksakov as saying:

With regard to the use of Facebook cryptocurrency as a payment instrument in Russia at this stage - my opinion is that in our country it will be banned.

He added that in Russia there were no plans to adopt legislation that "gives space for active use of crypto-tools created in the framework of open platforms and blockchains" that may pose a threat to Russia's financial system.

International Ministers Speak Out

Aksakov is not the first financial minister to express concerns over Facebook's cryptocurrency plans and their potential to damage sovereign currency markets and financial stability.

On Tuesday, French economy minister Bruno Le Maire, said that global governments must ask Facebook for "guarantees" that Libra will not be aimed as a disruptive force against sovereign currencies.

Facebook's plans have US government and regulatory officials so rattled that a Senate hearing by the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee has been scheduled for July 16. The government has asked Facebook to halt work on the project until the hearings have been held.

Sherrod Brown, senior Senator for Ohio and the Democratic Party's ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, said on his Twitter feed on Tuesday: "Facebook is already too big and too powerful, and it has used that power to exploit users’ data without protecting their privacy. We cannot allow Facebook to run a risky new cryptocurrency out of a Swiss bank account without oversight."

While Aksakov has major concerns about the growth of the cryptocurrency sector, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev said on Wednesday that the Russian government was set to adopt the country's crypto bill "On Digital Financial Assets" in the next two weeks.