The world today is fast-evolving, with recent technological advancements marking the golden age. With these advancements, the future of finance and investments have also significantly improved, Iran is one of the first countries to embrace the new kid on the block, Crypto.
As cryptocurrencies move towards global adoption, it presents new opportunities for countries like North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, and others that have been sidelined in international trade through imposed sanctions. North Korea has successfully managed to enter cyberspace, Venezuela’s government sought to launch its national cryptocurrency known as the Petro and now taking its first step toward the future, and the Iranian government has made its first official foreign trade using the decentralized platform of cryptocurrency, thus circumventing U.S sanctions.
In 1979, the U.S. imposed strict economic sanctions against Iran in alleged response to middle-eastern country’s nuclear program and support of various organizations that America considers terrorists. Since then, Iran has been handicapped in foreign trade as it has had no access to the dollar-denominated global financial ecosystem to trade with other countries. As a result, the country’s economy has been damaged by sanctions that restrict Iranian banks from dealing with U.S. and E.U. banks.
Thanks to the decentralized ecosystem of crypto where payments cannot be censored, Iran can circumvent the sanctions, escape the U.S.-controlled international payment systems, and trade freely for the first time in over four decades. The country’s vice minister of Industry, Mine, and Trade and president of the Trade Promotion Organization, Alireza Peyman-Pak, shared the breaking news on Twitter that the country had made its first international import using cryptocurrency. “This week, the first official import order was successfully placed with #cryptocurrency worth 10 million dollars,” he wrote. In an additional tweet, he stated that the trade was the first of many and that using cryptocurrencies and smart contracts would become routine in Iran’s foreign trade by the end of September.
The vice minister’s announcement comes a day after the U.S. Treasury Department added the privacy-preserving Ethereum protocol Tornado Cash’s website and smart contracts to its sanctions list—effectively banning all U.S. residents from accessing and using the platform under the threat of criminal prosecution. The U.S first-time sanction of a code instead of legal persons has raised questions about the legality of such actions.
At the time of writing, Iran did not reveal any specific details about the trade, including information about the imported goods, the export country, or the cryptocurrency used to settle the $10 million transaction. However, although the Iran government is making its first adoption of digital assets, its citizens have been using the technology long before. For example, Reuters reported last month that Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, had allegedly been serving Iranian citizens despite the imposed U.S. sanctions.
Alongside countries, big brands such as Prada have been taking on crypto as well. Read more about Prada’s entry into Web 3.0 here.