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Iran made its first official import order using cryptocurrency this week, the semi-official Tasnim agency reported on Tuesday, enabling the Islamic Republic to circumvent U.S. sanctions that have crippled the economy.
The order, worth $10 million, was a first step towards allowing the country to trade through digital assets that bypass the dollar-dominated global financial system and to trade with other countries similarly limited by U.S. sanctions, such as Russia. The agency didn’t specify which agency used cryptocurrency in the transaction.
The United States imposed an almost total economic embargo on Iran, including a ban on all imports from the country’s oil, banking and shipping sectors.
Tehran, one of the largest economies yet to embrace cryptocurrency technology, was born in 2008 as a payment tool to erode governmental control over finance and economies. A study found out last year that 4.5% of all bitcoin mining occurred in Iran, partly due to the country’s cheap electricity. Mining cryptocurrency could help Iran earn hundreds of millions of dollars that they can use to buy imports and lessen the impact of sanctions.
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