This week, Iran took another step towards launching a national cryptocurrency, according to the Tehran Times.
The prospect of a “crypto rial” has been mooted for months now, with reports of experiments by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) first surfacing in November 2018. Prior to that, the Iranian regime had taken a markedly less enthusiastic view of cryptocurrency, implementing a total ban in April 2018 under the rubric of anti-money laundering measures. Draft guidance released by the CBI on January 29 has now reversed that ban, although limits on the total value of crypto holdings by Iranian citizens remain in place. Gradually, the Islamic Republic is thawing in its stance towards virtual money, coming to see it as an effective vector for skirting U.S. sanctions, which were recently reinstated by the Trump Administration.