Sam Barden, head of an international commodity trading and advisory company SBI Markets, postulated that Iran may be seeking to create its very own national cryptocurrency – the so called ‘energy coin’.
The Iranian Ministry of Information and Communications Technology has also announced that the country intends to create its own cryptocurrency infrastructure as it would be in Tehran’s interest.
"Just like with physical currency like, for example, the US dollar, there are certain complications involved with s cryptocurrency as well. When you purchase some kind of goods using US dollars, the money itself does not move anywhere – instead, it is SWIFT-codes and SWIFT-messages that move and cause the money to be transferred from one account to another. Also, the sender and the received play an important part in this process. For example, the US dollar is not Iranian currency, so Iran takes part in a US dollar transaction it ends up being subjected to restrictions. And the same may happen when cryptocurrency is used; in fact, things may even get worse," he said.
According to Rostami, one of the biggest problems that need to be resolved before launching the ‘energy coin’ is the Iranian currency’s non-involvement into the global financial system.
"Our chief problem is not the creation of this digital cryptocurrency itself. First we need to bring our national currency up to the global standards and to ensure that it is recognized by the international currency system," Rostami explained, adding that creating a new cryptocurrency before accomplishing this task would only create more problems for Iran.
He also insisted that by creating the cryptocurrency, even if it is backed by oil and natural gas, Iran wouldn’t be able to evade the sanctions imposed against it.
"Even if we try and use new technological innovations to try and bypass sanctions or to remove the existing restrictions altogether, at this time it would be simply impossible," Rostami concluded.
Earlier Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro signaled his intent to create a new national cryptocurrency called ‘the petro’, with each of its units backed by a barrel of crude produced in the country.
The first release of 100 million units of Venezuela's new digital currency is expected to take place on February 20 — March 19 and some 38.4 million Petros are expected to be sold during the preliminary phase of the trading session, according to media reports.
The views expressed by Hoshyar Rostami are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.