Iranian Lawmakers Not in Favor of Crypto Restrictions

Members of the Majlis, the Iranian Parliament, have shared their concerns over the restrictive policies of Tehran towards innovations, including cryptocurrencies. A study was released that recommended the use of a new approach towards the crypto industry and in its light, the lawmakers in the country are calling for adopting friendlier regulation. Some parliamentarians are adamant to change the regulatory attitude of the Iranian government relating to cryptocurrencies. They cited opportunities of using these digital currencies for improving the troubled and sanctioned economy of the country. Gholamreza Marhaba, the Majlis Economic Commission’s spokesman, said that a restrictive approach would only push the innovative solutions underground.

He also commented on the results of the commission’s research and said that numbers indicate 50% of crypto activities occur in the informal market. He added that supportive regulations can be quite helpful in increasing the contribution of these digital currencies to the economy. The report was presented last week to the Iranian legislature and its authors have recommended a new approach to regulating the crypto space. They are of the opinion that the crypto sector can make a contribution to the country’s economy, which has been suffering from decades of mismanagement and foreign sanctions.

According to the current rules of the government in Iran, crypto mining is only legal for entities that have received authorization from the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade. In 2019, the country recognized the minting of digital coins as an industrial activity. However, they don’t tolerate the trading of cryptocurrencies and a crackdown was launched by Iranian authorities on local exchanges, with just one notable exception; licensed money changers and banks are permitted to use cryptocurrencies mined in Iran for the payment of imports. A member of the Majlis, Hadi Nejad Beigi noted that former president Hassan Rouhani’s administrator had shown reluctance in legalizing crypto trade.

He said that the administrator featured it would draw private investment. However, Iranian lawmakers had to come up with a draft law due to the popularity of bitcoin amongst the citizens. This law banned payments in cryptocurrencies, but is aimed at supporting mining as well as regulating trading. The study that was conducted indicates that crypto mining can help solve some of the problems in the Iranian energy sector, which include financial issues. Therefore, lawmakers have suggested that miners should be permitted by the government to purchase electricity directly from foreign or local producers, or from the Iran Energy Exchange. 

They have also submitted a proposal for introducing ‘barter deals’ where mining companies can use the digital currency they mine to pay for the subsidized energy they use. Beigi said that they would sell this crypto at rates established by the Central Bank of Iran. He said that there were solutions and they just had to find a way to link the power plant owners and the crypto miners. Ehsan Akrani, his colleague, added that Iran would be able to accelerate the expansion and rehabilitation of its power plants through the development of crypto mining in the country.