Bitcoin: Iran's Savior in the Economic Crisis? (Op-Ed)

Bitcoin and sanctions--there is an interesting interplay between these two words. The word “sanction” is defined as “an economic or military coercive measure adopted usually by several nations in concert for forcing a nation violating international law to desist or yield.”

Could this statement be applied to the international monetary system? A purported “International Community,” which is referenced as if it were a spontaneously-occurring legitimate broad consensus, but which is actually understood to be the United States compelling nations to adhere to a monetary system that uses US dollar settlement. Who benefits from this arrangement, and at whose expense?

Silent Weapons

As an Iranian who has observed all kinds of financial crises during the past couple of years, I fully understand what it feels like to lose your currency’s value by 50% overnight. It’s a disaster, and the worst part is when your government strongly resists against these sanctions and you can’t see any bright light at the end of the tunnel. This actually happened during the last sanctions imposed by not only the US, but also the EU in 2012. If we look at it from a financial perspective, this means no Mastercard, no Visa card and even no SWIFT. Iran’s wire to other countries’ financial systems was cut.

There was this panic moment in the country where the Iranian government looked so confident but the demand for USD and gold were increasing in Iran. The price of a US dollar was about 11,000 IRR (Iranian Rial) and it went up to 35,000 IRR within a few months. This was a disaster, especially for companies that had to buy their materials and import products from other countries. The government announced a fixed USD rate, which was way lower than the market rate, and this fixed rate was only allocated to specific businesses. According to Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s former prime minister, Iran would be forced to accept only cash or gold, which is impossible when dealing with billions of dollars.

Apart from the financial perspective of these sanctions, there was also a big humanitarian impact on innocent Iranians. In 2013, The Guardian&