July 25th, 2018
US Government Confiscates Iranian Bitcoin Holder Assets
Recently, ibena reported that the U.S. Federal Government had confiscated 500 BTC belonging to Iranians — valued at 25 billion rials at the time of purchase.
The exact reason for the confiscation is unclear, though some speculate it has to do with Iranian bitcoin holders evading imposed U.S. sanctions.
Sepehr Mohammadi, the head of Iranian’s Blockchain Association, stated that confiscation had begun last year and was still continuing. He underscored the sentiment held by many when he expressed to ibena that “some people believe that this confiscation is because of circumventing U.S. sanctions by bitcoin holders.”
Mohammadi further explained that the total amount of assets confiscated by the Federal government was unclear but that it was at least 500 bitcoins (and counting). This represented a net purchase value of 25 billion rials — or about USD 5.77 million.
Legal Ban on Digital Currency Puts Iran’s Blockchain Association at a Standstill
Iran’s Blockchain Association and Mohammadi were taking the necessary steps to end the current bitcoin confiscation. He and the company were in discussion with several expert attorneys who understood Iranian’s capital market as well as the Financial Action Task Force.
The current legal ban on cryptocurrencies in Iran has made it difficult for them to find an attorney to take on the issue. Similarly, the FATA Police have distanced themselves from the case — taking no action since the confiscation began.
In April, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) released new measures to prohibit the purchasing or selling of cryptocurrencies — one step in a wider reform to help boost Iran’s fiat currency. The reason’s outlined by the IRNA for the anti-cryptocurrency move dealt mostly with digital currency’s lack of governmental or bank regulation and an inability to monitor and supervise it.
Legal Ban Doesn’t Stop Civilians
Bitcoinist reported earlier this month that, despite the current legal ban, the current political and financial landscape could make bitcoin adoption in Iran advantageous. Following the US sanctions on Iran after the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement — the population was reportedly turning to bitcoin for its “borderless and apolitical nature.”
As Iranian citizens continue to utilize cryptocurrency, the nation must come to understand the potential advantages of its usage and adoption. Still, questions linger about its role in geopolitics and the steps Iran will now take following the confiscation of investors bitcoin assets.