The Iran Blockchain Association has been suspended by the Islamic Republic’s Ministry of Interior (IBA). The action was taken after the group was accused of violating government restrictions. IBA brings together participants in the country’s burgeoning crypto sector who are working on blockchain technology.
Iranian authorities are looking into IBA’s dealings with cryptocurrency exchanges.
The Iranian authorities took action this week to halt the Iran Blockchain Association’s operations. Following many charges, including that the IBA was violating its own articles of association, the Ministry of Interior suspended the famous crypto industry organization.
IBA was also ordered to give thorough reports regarding its financial performance and activities to Iran’s Social Affairs Organization, according to a notice published by the Persian-language newspaper Hamshahri Online on Wednesday. According to the magazine, the government is particularly interested in learning more about the association’s dealings with bitcoin exchanges.
A member of the Iranian parliament, Rahim Zare, accused “domestic NGOs active in cryptocurrencies” of sending foreign currency overseas earlier in June, without offering any evidence to back up his accusation. IBA vehemently denied any wrongdoing, claiming that its efforts were only focused on the advancement of blockchain technology.
The Iran Blockchain Association was founded in 2017 as a non-profit, self-governing organization of entrepreneurs, experts, and activists active in the blockchain business. One of its top aims is to raise awareness among Iranians about cryptocurrency scams and prevent losses. According to the organization:
IBA’s goals include informing the public and authorities about dangerous websites and fraud cases.
Iran’s Blockchain Association has been slammed after exposing high-risk cryptocurrency firms. According to the head of the IBA, Sepehr Mohammadi, the new government notification was never provided to the association or its board of directors. He wondered if the publication of a crypto notice was the main cause for the prohibition. The IBA has published a list of high-risk domestic enterprises doing cryptocurrency operations. Mohammadi went on to say:
Clearly, vested interests will go to any length to thwart IBA’s work. They were able to get the notice out before IBA was notified.
With the rise in cryptocurrency values over the past year, an increasing number of Iranians have begun to invest in bitcoin and other digital assets, rather than traditional markets like FX, gold, and equities. According to a recent study conducted by the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, around 12 million Iranians have already invested in cryptocurrencies. According to a different survey conducted by the High Council of Cyberspace, Bitcoin transaction in Tehran amounts to roughly 30 – 40 trillion rials ($130-174 million).
The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) ordered the country’s domestic payment settlement network Shaparak to prohibit cryptocurrency trading websites’ online payment gateways in March. The IBA slammed the move, claiming that anti-innovative technology regulations are both costly and ineffective.
“Technology advances regardless of the circumstances,” the group added, adding that restricting domestic crypto portals will simply drive Iranians to international platforms. Iran’s economy and finance minister, Farhad Dejpasand, expressed similar concerns earlier this month, concluding that the government cannot continue to obstruct crypto development indefinitely.