A lot of things are changing in the world of cryptocurrency. As this industry gains more widespread adoption, it is only normal the ecosystem receives some improvements along the way. In Iran, however, there are a fair few developments which may or may not paint a bright future for Bitcoin and altcoins. That in itself shows the coming years will be crucial for all cryptocurrencies.
The Growth in Popularity
Unlike what most people might assume, there is a lot of genuine interest in Bitcoin coming out of Iran. The local cryptocurrency community has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. So much even that various restaurants and other locations have begun accepting Bitcoin payments due to overwhelming customer demand. Some locals even offer up to 50% discount when paying in Bitcoin or other supported cryptocurrencies.
During this year’s celebration of Bitcoin Pizza Day, a fair few Iranian pizza restaurants saw a high increase in overall cryptocurrency payments. On a regular basis, some locations note between 100 and 200 people paying with cryptocurrency every single month. That in itself is rather interesting to take note of, as it shows the offered discount is more than appealing. Sustaining this rate of growth will be challenging, but it is far from impossible.
Uncertain Regulatory Future
On the other side of the medallion, there is plenty of uncertainty surrounding Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in Iran. For the time being, there is a “blanket ban” in place which prevents any and all financial institutions form officially engaging in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency activities. That is not entirely abnormal, as similar measures exist in most other countries around the world. It hasn’t hindered the growth of Bitcoin just yet, albeit that situation will always be subject to change.
At the time of writing, it remained unclear which potential changes may be introduced in Iran moving forward. A draft regulatory framework exists already, but it has yet to be approved and turned into law. Genuine concerns over how Bitcoin would hammer the value of the rial into the ground cannot be overlooked in this regard. It will be interesting to see how things play out in this regard.
Targeting Cryptocurrency Miners
Although the regulatory future looks uncertain, it would appear some ministers have their target in front of them. More specifically, minister Homayoun Haeri wants to target Bitcoin and altcoin miners in the country. As these miners use energy, it should no longer be a subsidized version of this resource for that specific business venture. Iran has rather steep expenses when it comes to electricity subsidies, which allows the country to keep those prices very low in general.
Considering how a growing number of cryptocurrency miners can now take advantage of this subsidized energy, it only seems normal some changes will be introduced along the way. The low electricity costs have also attracted foreign investors looking to get in on the cryptocurrency mining scheme. As such, a very tight balancing act is required to ensure the ecosystem can keep on growing, but not get out of hand entirely. Nothing has been set in stone just yet, but there are potential changes on the horizon.
LocalBitcoins is no Longer Accessible
Albeit this particular incident took place several weeks ago, it would appear LocalBitcoins is no longer available in Iran. That is a rather odd decision, considering how the platform used to be rather popular in that part of the world. An exact reason for this change was never officially communicated, albeit that is not entirely uncommon either.
Given the current geopolitical climate between Iran, the US, and the rest of the world, it is not too surprising to see LocalBitcoins end its service in that region temporarily. It is possible the service will return in the future, although one never knows how things will pan out exactly. There are other ways to obtain the world’s leading cryptocurrency in Iran, thus it seems unlikely that this change will make any meaningful impact down the line.
Disclaimer: This is not trading or investment advice. The above article is for entertainment and education purposes only. Please do your own research before purchasing or investing into any cryptocurrency or digital currency.