Iran has been hit by a new wave of government censorship which has a direct impact on the crypto exchanges in the country. An anonymous Iranian bitcoin advocate mentioned that almost every crypto exchange in Iran has been filtered starting this May.
This new censorship has cut off Iranians from vital links to the crypto economy that lies ahead of a renewal of U.S. sanctions in the month of August and November this year. Speaking to CoinDesk, a lot of Iranians mentioned that they are struggling to access crypto exchanges such as Blockchain, Binance, and LocalBitcoins. In a country where its people are in need of an economic lifeline, this censorship is certainly not a great news.
A lot of Iranians are using bitcoin as a hedge instrument. This is primarily because purchasing BTC is relatively easier as compared to going to the black market to purchase U.S. dollars. A lot of Iranians are of the opinion that in the face of political uncertainty and rampant inflation, bitcoin’s volatility appears trivial.
Director of Iran Observed Project at the Middle East Institute, Ahmad Khalid Majidyar mentioned that President Rohani is not in favor of Iranians transferring foreign currency such as dollars outside the country via cryptocurrency exchanges. A lot of experts are of the opinion that the country’s economic crisis that is tied to international relations has prompted the Iranian authorities to seek strict measures on cryptocurrency. This censorship was anticipated long back owing to the prevailing political situation in the country.
Another anonymous source as reported by Coin Desk mentioned that government censors are checking network traffic using deep packet inspection. This is a tactic that the authorities utilized in the past to restrict VPN access to crypto platforms. Imported cryptocurrency mining equipment is also banned and LocalBitcoins are also no longer accessible. However, people still trade with each other in person.
This censorship pertaining to decentralized cryptocurrencies will worsen if diplomacy falters, says Majidyar. Already most international banks have already shunned Iranians, he said. However, bitcoin enthusiasts are still hopeful and some of them continue to trade crypto amongst acquaintances in exchange for local cash.[The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or the official policy of the website. ]