Evaluating the landscape of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies in Iran

Quick Take

  • Iran, a country of 83 million, is an interesting case study on attitude and adoption of Bitcoin and blockchain technology, having been ravaged by sanctions for decades
  • The Iranian government estimates that its citizens have spent $2.5 billion on cryptocurrencies and possibly as much as ten times that. These numbers, however, should be met with skepticism
  • In 2018 from Q1 to Q2 with the Iranian rial depreciating and rumors of impending sanctions, demand for gold coins and bars increased by 200%. However during the same period, the bitcoin volume on LocalBitcoins decreased by approximately 77%
  • Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have been used for the purchase of digital goods like VPNs and servers more frequently than for physical goods 

When it comes to cryptocurrency and blockchain, chief among the technology’s promise has been an open financial system for all, where all economic activity occurring within its systems is censorship resistant. In theory, if these systems are allowed to fully mature, it will diminish the effectiveness of a geopolitical tool the U.S.