This post was most recently updated on December 5th, 2018
This week, the U.S. authoritatively removed Iran from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) network, making impossible for the Central Bank of Iran to work with financial institutions around the world. In response to this ban, Iran could switch to crypto as they hinted earlier this year.
The U.S. government forced strict sanctions on Iran in May, removing banks of the second level from the SWIFT network. Without precedent in history, Iran’s national bank has been removed from the SWIFT system, a step that basically denies Iran from sending and accepting transactions to and from its partners.
Iran might be forced to adopt Crypto
Speaking for RT, Steve Keen professor at the Kingston University, condemned the U.S. government for segregating the central bank of a sovereign country from the worldwide financial system.
Keen added that no country should have the power to force the use of a certain currency nor should hold the ability to expel countries from the network.
“The US has gone rogue, and cannot be allowed to dictate economic or political policy to the rest of the world. The sooner the rest of the world develops an alternate payments system – possibly working through SWIFT, but using a basket of currencies as the basis for a supra-national unit of exchange – the better. The USA is big enough to bully what should be an impartial means for monetary transactions between countries. This should not be possible,” Keen said.
A half year ago, after sanctions imposed on Iran by the U.S. government, head of Parliamentary Commission of Economic Affairs (IPCEA) Mohammad Reza Pourebrahimi, said that Iran has been working with Russia, its partner, to process international payments using cryptocurrencies.
Pourebrahimi asserted that Russia endorsed the proposition of the Iranian government and communicated its positive position towards the arrangement if the U.S. expels Iran from the SWIFT system.
“[IPCEA has already] obliged the Central Bank of Iran to start developing proposals for the use of cryptocurrency. Over the past year or two, the use of cryptocurrency has become an important issue. This is one of the good ways to bypass the use of the dollar, as well as the replacement of the SWIFT system. They [Russian authorities] share our opinion. We said that if we manage to promote this work, then we will be the first countries that use cryptocurrency in the exchange of goods.”
Crypto volume is exploding in Iran
According to LocalBitcoins data cryptocurrencies, the volume is exploding in Iran. This is caused also by the high inflation rate the county is facing.
Many businesses in Iran started accepting cryptocurrency payments. HotelsinIran, an online booking platform started accepting cryptocurrency payments after finding difficulties accepting fiat currencies.
It is ironic that the Iranian central bank which banned bitcoin use earlier might be forced to be the first central bank to adopt bitcoin.
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