According to local English language news outlet Aljazeera, Iran could unveil its state-backed crypto-currency at the Electronic banking and payment systems conference in Tehran this week.
The country which has been marred by sanctions, including fresh ones from the United States put in place last November, had previously planned to use blockchain based financial tools as a way of going around some of the imposed restrictions.
A central bank issued digital currency (CBDC), which could be a rial-backed crypto was being considered an alternative to SWIFT, a global settlements systems that some Iranian banks cannot access.
It is still unclear whether Iran is capable of rolling out its state backed crypto in large-scale, but more localized uses for the crypto such as consumer payments are almost a given.
According to Yashar Rashedi, a blockchain developer at Iranian firm Radfa,
They (Iranian state-backed cryptos) certainly can’t replace the likes of Bitcoin due to their centralized nature, but their existence is harmless,”
“Even as [CBDCs] may never find widespread everyday use among the general public, they may be able to offer some new features to startups and developers that had to work with centralized bank APIs before them.”
Iran is one of several countries that have thought it necessary to unveil digital currencies aimed at shielding against US sanctions.
Russia is another country that is working on a similar digital currency “the crypto rubble” which is reportedly a few years away from release according to a Russian government official. Venezuela on the hand already circulated their digital currency, though it has faced a few challenges, including multiple questions about its legitimacy.
A signatory of the recent Chain point Blockchain pact between Iran, Russia and Armenia, Iran is already developing a Blockchain based substitute for SWIFT.
Yuri Pripachkin, head of the Russian Association of crypto-industry and Blockchain said “According to our information, an active development of an Iranian version of SWIFT is currently underway,”
The US seems ready for any such developments in Iran as American lawmakers warned of a sanction against any form of Crypto-rial