Finance minister says Iran no longer bans cryptocurrencies

Press TV – Iran’s finance minister has said that the country is to fully legalize cryptocurrencies as the government moves to introduce regulations that would allow people to mine and trade digital currencies within certain limits.

Farhad Dejpassand said on Monday that a long-anticipated meeting in the Cabinet to discuss cryptocurrencies would be held later this week.

He said a bill approved in early 2019 in a subsidiary government committee will be presented to the Cabinet session in the hope that it could be ratified and turned into law.

Speaking in a meeting with Iranian parliament lawmakers, Dejpassand said the approval of the bill would mean that Iran has effectively dismantled a two-year ban on mining and trade of cryptocurrencies.

“The regulation of the cryptocurrencies should be carried out in a way that could lead to a maximum of benefit and opportunities …” said the minister, according to remarks covered in the official IRNA agency.

The comments come nearly two weeks after the Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) said the government was preparing to authorize the mining of digital currencies amid a reported surge in illegal use of subsidized electricity across the country for mining bitcoin.

However, Abdolnasser Hemmati would not elaborate whether the government bill on cryptocurrencies would also legalize their trade and if the CBI would recognize them as legal tenders.

Iran’s High Council on Fighting Money-Laundering banned any activity related to cryptocurrencies in late 2017, ordering customs offices across the country to stop and confiscate machines used for mining such currencies.

Both Hemmati and Dejpassand have hinted that a final government decision on cryptocurrency mining would allow such activity only if it is licensed and if miners pay for the massive electricity they use based on prices set for export of power.