Financial Tribune- Iran’s High Council of Cyberspace, one of the main entities deciding the fate of virtual currencies in Iran, has welcomed the idea of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies if they are harnessed by clearly-stated regulations.
“We [at the HCC] welcome Bitcoin, but we must have regulations for Bitcoin and any other digital currency. Studies are necessary for considering a new currency,” Abolhassan Firouzabadi, HCC secretary, told ILNA.
He said HCC and the Central Bank of Iran are currently studying virtual currencies, as they have captured the attention of the world.
However, he points out that even though the CBI has yet to devise definitive regulations for Bitcoin and similar currencies, “many in Iran are dealing with Bitcoin, be it purchasing, selling or mining it, and even dealing with it in exchange shops, creating content and establishing startups”.
CBI has envisioned six documents on fintechs and cryptocurrencies that will be unveiled by the end of the next fiscal year in March 2019. Two of them, dealing with payment initiators and payment facilitators, have already been published with a third covering micropayments and related technologies in fintech to be announced in the next few weeks.
The fifth document exclusively deals with cryptocurrencies and will be unveiled by the time the sixth month of the next fiscal year comes to an end in September 2018.
As CBI has announced, it will be a regulatory framework instead of clear-cut regulations.
Firouzabadi said Iran’s central bank, like that of many other nations, has not come to a stable and defined stance on Bitcoin, noting that many countries look at it as a potentially dangerous option in light of its violent price fluctuations and investment risk.
Less than two weeks ago, the head of CBI’s Innovative Technologies Department, Nasser Hakimi, asked investors and the public to refrain from dealing with virtual currencies without proper knowledge and to remain cautious.
“Mechanisms of control and supervision over the supply of cryptocurrencies are being implemented through the collaboration of the central bank and related entities, but the people must be aware of their risks and dangers on the demand side,” he added.
Around the same days, Bitcoin had experienced its third steep decline of the year to stoop lower than $6,000 after briefly skyrocketing to around $7,800. In the two weeks since, it reached yet another staggering high of more than $8,300.
The cryptocurrency is priced just shy of $8,200 as of this writing, while Iranians can purchase one at roughly 350 million rials ($8,400).
The HCC secretary said that in light of the ease of use and anonymity of Bitcoin, high investment profits and lack of any transaction fees, it has emerged as a cataclysmic change in banking and online businesses.
“Our view regarding Bitcoin is positive, but it does not mean that we will not require regulations in this regard because following the rules is a must,” he said.
Firouzabadi said he hopes CBI’s stance toward cryptocurrencies will soon be clarified, adding that HCC will continue to conduct studies and evaluate pros and cons of virtual currencies.