The Iranian Minister of Information Technology has raised the idea of converting the Persian Gulf island of Kish into an international center for the exchange of cryptocurrencies. The Iranian authorities plan to create a financial free zone in the area, which has already attracted cryptocurrency miners.
The Iranian ICT minister says the Gulf island of Kish has what it takes to be a crypto exchange center
Muhammad Javad Azari Jahromi, the Minister of Information and Communication Technology of the Islamic Republic, made the crypto-friendly proposal during a recent visit to Kish. The 91 square kilometer island off the coast of the Persian Gulf in southern Iran is already home to one of the country’s free trade zones. The official was quoted by the IRNA news agency as saying:
Kish has the infrastructure to develop as a hub for international crypto exchanges in the region. The authorities have to start talks with neighboring countries.
Kish Island is a popular destination in the Arabian Gulf with numerous shopping centers and hotels. The island’s permanent population is around 40,000, but its tourist attractions and free trade zone status attract a million visitors each year. The Tehran government wants to set up a finance-free zone there too.
The electricity generated on the island cannot be transferred to the mainland and crypto miners are happy to use the excess energy to mint digital currencies, the Financial Tribune noted. According to his report, 12 crypto mining farms are already in operation in the Kish Island, Maku and Aras free trade zones, as well as in the Payam special economic zone in Alborz province, in the Shiraz Bushehr and Rafsanjan special economic zones.
Iranian Government Develops Regulatory Roadmap For Crypto Exchanges
While the mining of cryptocurrencies is a legal activity for licensed companies in Iran, trading in digital assets is generally prohibited with a few exceptions. In April, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Authorized domestic banks and exchanges to use cryptocurrencies mined in the country for import payments. Iranian regulators have tried to curb other trade, leading the country’s fintech industry to warn that restrictions would take away the country’s opportunities.
The ICT minister’s proposal comes amid efforts by policymakers in Tehran to prepare new rules for exchanging cryptocurrencies. In early June, the country’s economy and finance minister, Farhad Dejpasand, stated that the government cannot meddle in the development of crypto technologies for too long. The matter is more complicated than other regulatory challenges, the Iranian business publication noted, and no government agency is ready to take full responsibility.
Abolfazl Rouhani, deputy head of Iran’s High Council on Cyberspace, recently said that “cryptos could help the country evade sanctions in a limited number of cases,” stressing that the central bank should take a clear approach to this. However, the CBI has indicated that it is in no rush with new rules for exchanging cryptocurrencies. The regulator plans to work with other government institutions on a roadmap for regulating the crypto market.
Do you think crypto exchanges are allowed to operate freely in Iran? Do share your expectations in the comments section below.
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