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Bitcoin Regulation and Bitcoin Tax in Iran

Perhaps surprisingly Iran has endorsed the use of Bitcoin with bolhassan Firouzabadi, secretary of Iran’s High Council of Cyberspace, telling the Iranian news agency ILNA that the High Council fully supports the use of bitcoin in the country although with some regulation. He said: “We welcome bitcoin, but we must have regulations for bitcoin and any other digital currency. Studies are necessary for considering a new currency.” The secretary also acknowledged that “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 start-ups”, despite governmental approval not yet finalised.

However, all is not green pastures in Iranian financial circles. Although the Deputy for information Technology and Communications Network at Bank Melli Iran has come out in favour of cryptocurrencies stating, “Iran must formally recognise activities using digital currencies as they are currently shaping the future of banking. Banks themselves must also enter this field to use them.” And believes that with the history of economic sanctions his nation could benefit from digital currencies. “I ask central bank officials to refrain from creating restrictions for digital currencies by way of laws and regulations, because based on the current realities of the world, they have taken form and the Iranian people have also moved toward them,” Not everyone is in favour.

Predictably different is the Central Bank of Iran where the Governor Valiollah Seifand and head of its Innovative Technologies Department Nasser Hakimi recently urged people to exercise caution when dealing with Bitcoin. And last year Mohammad Reza Pour-Ebrahimi a Member of Parliament said that Bitcoin and other digital currencies were not in line with the nation’s religious beliefs and therefore caution must be exercised. “Deals and transactions made through Bitcoin are in no way in accordance with Islamic and economic fundamentals, therefore related entities, especially the central bank, and must exert the necessary supervision over these deals.” He stated.

Although there are no regulations for cryptocurrencies in Iran currently Bitcoin is enthusiastically used for payments, trading, and various other business activities. But the HCC Secretary indicated that some mechanisms of control over the use of cryptocurrencies are on the drawing board in liaison with the central Bank and other financial entities.

Deputy Information and Communications Technology Minister Amir Hossein Davaee recently stated his ministry has carried out studies to prepare the infrastructure to use bitcoin inside the country. He said that digital infrastructure was “part of the soft power of the country” and that the introduction of cryptocurrencies would be in Iran’s “general interest.”

Currently some brokerage firms in Iran are offering bitcoin investments to their clients, though the transactions are not approved by the Tehran Stock Exchange. For bitcoin to become an official investment vehicle, it would have to be endorsed by the country’s Securities and Exchanges Organization (SEO) said Shapour Mohammadi, head of the SEO, He stated that “one of the most important points in the process of securing the SEO’s approval is the question of value creation of an investment vehicle in the economy. As long as the potential value creation of bitcoin remains ambiguous, it won’t be endorsed.”

Some consider that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is suitable for engagement in international transactions with no bank accounts or credit facilities but bitcoin is considered still too volatile for that purpose and it is more likely a wait will ensue before it is accepted as a standard transactional medium. In addition it is being considered whether Iranian holdings in cryptocurrencies would be susceptible to blocking by the USA or other authorities possibly in overseas exchanges.

For the man in the street Bitcoin is quite acceptable to use as a currency to trade inside Iran and for overseas goods and services or just somewhere to park ones asset value in these uncertain economic times.

This article is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as financial information for any purposes such as investment or speculation and it is the responsibility of the reader to perform proper due diligence before acting upon any of the information provided. We recommend that you consult with a licensed, qualified investment advisor before making any investment decisions.