Iranians have sent more than USD 2.5 billion out of the country for the purchase of cryptocurrencies. The revelation was made by Mohammad Reza Pourebrahimi, Iran’s Chairman of the Economic Commission of the Parliament, moments after US president Trump announced America’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal yesterday, according to Nasdaq.

As Forbes reported, this demonstrates how, when nations are confronted with issues which could drastically impact the future of the economy, some of the population look for financial refuge overseas. On this occasion, Bitcoin appears to be the haven of choice.

Iran had already anticipated the effect of Trump taking the US out of the deal which is shared by P5+1, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States — plus Germany.

In 2017, Iran began developing a local cryptocurrency which was launched earlier in May, although many are skeptical about its success. Venezuela and more recently, Russia, have expressed the merits of state-owned cryptocurrency as a possible sanction breaker. It is one reason for Iran’s original interest although, with the latest developments, the government plan could regain real momentum.

An Iranian living in the US spoke anonymously to Forbes, saying that his parents had tried to send him Bitcoin. It has been banned under current Iranian legislation since April — although it still possible to purchase cryptocurrencies using discrete methods.

“With exchange offices closed, sanctions and the [Iranian] rial dropping like crazy it seems like a good idea to use Bitcoin. I know that there are a few people selling and buying Bitcoin in Iran with LocalBitcoins. For now, it seems like Bitcoin is literally the only way to get money out of the country, so I’m sure more people will be inclined to use it, but with the rampant inflation of the Iranian rial a lot of people won’t be able to afford it,” said Forbes’s source.

Nasdaq suggests that with recent developments and the potential emergence of a national cryptocurrency, as well as with Iranians trading abroad, cryptocurrency could become prominent in Iran. Bitcoin’s overnight bounce after Trump’s announcement yesterday demonstrates that alternative currency markets can have a profound impact in times of economic threat and could become a veritable safe haven.

 

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kamshots/464193132/ – Kamyar Adl

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