The Central Bank of Iran plans to conduct a comprehensive review of its policies covering Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The move was made after the government-owned central bank has announced that it is softening its stance on the virtual currencies.
In a press conference in mid-November 2017, Central Bank of Iran Deputy Director of New Technologies, Naser Hakimi, announced that the central bank is studying Bitcoin and planning to examine its policies about digital currencies. He, however, issued a warning to investors about the “uncertainty” and “risk” that they could face in the cryptocurrency market.
"Given that Bitcoin and other currencies have not been introduced by the central bank as the official currency, as well as the risk of buying it and the activity of traders in this field, more precautions are coming into the market because of the possibility of malice."
In early 2017, Financial Tribune reported that Hakimi has referred to Bitcoin as an “opportunity” that should be exploited by the Iranian government. He claimed then that Bitcoin and other digital currencies can be used by traders who failed to open lines of credit due to banking issues.
Cryptocurrency developments in the Middle East
Aside from Iran, other countries in the Middle East region are tackling virtual currencies. In October, the Lebanese Central Bank governor claimed that the Lebanese government is planning to introduce its own digital currency. It is not clear, however, if the cryptocurrency will be based on Blockchain technology.
Meanwhile, the Head of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Central Bank, Mubarak Rashed Al Mansouri, has criticized Bitcoin’s lack of supervision and regulation. He claimed that the non-supervision of the leading cryptocurrency facilitates its use in money laundering and terrorism financing.