A prominent Iranian banker has come out in support of digital currencies. Masoud Khatouni, a senior member at Iran’s largest bank, has called for Bitcoin and other cryptos to be recognised and accepted into the nation’s banking system. According to Bank Meli Iran’s deputy for information technology and communications:
“Iran must formally recognise activities using digital currencies as they are currently shaping the future of banking. Banks themselves must also enter this field to use them.”
Khatouni’s stance is markedly different from other prominent bankers in Iran, however. The governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) and their head of innovative technologies have both recently urged citizens to exercise great caution when dealing with digital currencies.
However, Khatouni believes that his nation could benefit from digital currency, particularly as they have a history of dealing with the burden of economic sanctions. He told prominent Iranian financial news source IBENA:
“The future of banking throughout the world is intertwined with digital currencies, which are entering the banks silently as most banks remain oblivious to their presence.”
The BMI official went on to state that there should be “no limitations” on the use of digital currencies. This, he believes, will allow companies to reap the benefits of cryptos with greater confidence and transparency. He proposed that the CBI should create a group entirely focused on integrating digital currencies into their banking practices. Such a department should then be used to determine regulations going forward.
“I ask central bank officials to refrain from creating restrictions for digital currencies by way of laws and regulations, because based on the current realities of the world, they have taken form and the Iranian people have also moved toward them.”
Despite the mixed signals coming from Iran’s banking sector, it appears that the nation is generally supportive of cryptocurrencies. In October last year, we reported on the Iranian central bank’s desire to see a cryptocurrency infrastructure developed for the nation. Nima Amirshekari, head of Electronic Banking at the Monetary and Banking Institute, said:
“CBI views it [Bitcoin] as something that can be controlled and does not see it as multi-level marketing or a pyramid scheme.”
It’s believed that the Middle Eastern State are aiming to have a regulatory frame work for digital currencies setup by September of this year. How this will sit with the religious elements of the nation’s leadership remains to be seen, however. Member of parliament Mohammad Reza Pour-Ebrahimi believes that digital currency is against Islam. This sentiment was echoed as recently as last week in Egypt too. Counsellor of the Republican’s Mufti, Dr. Magdy Ashour told a local news source that Bitcoin was “not an Islamic concept”.