Statements from both Iran and Turkey suggest that the two countries are about to launch a national cryptocurrency, stressing the need for strong regulation.
Following in the Wake of El Petro
As Venezuela’s El Petro raised over $700 million dollars in its first round of private funding, President Modoru took the podium the next day to announce the countries follow up, Petro Gold.
Instead of oil, this second currency’s value will be pegged to precious metals. This was about all the information given about the new token but it must have been convincing enough for Iran.
Despite overwhelming criticism and doubt cast on to the value and feasibility of the Petro, its sales figures were heard loud and clear as Iran announced that the framework for a cloud-based digital currency is being developed for submission to the national banking system.
The announcement was tweeted out by Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi who heads Iran’s Ministry of Information and Communications Technology after a meeting with state-owned Post Bank of Iran.
Though no information was given as to what role the cryptocurrency would take in the economy–for instance if it would also somehow be pegged to oil as the Petro is–the government has given hints in the past that it was considering adopting digital currency into the financial system.
Both In and Out
In direct conflict with Jahromi’s announcement, the Central Bank of Iran released a statement the same day denying that the republic recognizes Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency as legal tender.
“The wild fluctuations of the digital currencies along with competitive business activities underway via network marketing and pyramid scheme have made the market of these currencies highly unreliable and risky,”
The central bank was quoted by the Iranian Front Page News.
The story went on to warn Iranian citizens that they “may lose their financial assets” due to the extreme volatility of the cryptocurrency marketplace.
Likewise, the Turkish Government which had previously taken a negative stance on cryptocurrency, even ruling Bitcoin to be un-Islamic, has now announced plans for a “national Bitcoin” called the Turkcoin.
“The world is advancing toward a new digital system. Turkey should create its own digital system and currency before it’s too late,” Former minister Ahmet Kenan Tanrikulu one of the authors of a report detailing the issue told Al- monitor.
Fears that nationally backed cryptocurrency by countries like Venezuela, Iran, and Russia all of which are under US-backed economic sanctions may undermine financial restrictions meant to promote human rights or stem military aggression have been voiced internationally.
The US treasury department put out a statement following the launch of the Petro that anyone investing in the coin could be treated as a creditor to the restricted nation and face penalties accordingly.