Iranian Lawmaker Says Bitcoin Should Be Central Bank’s Turf

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An Iranian lawmaker wants his country’s central bank to take bitcoin seriously.

Representative Mohammad Hossein Farhangi (Tabriz), speaking Tuesday before the nation’s parliament, called on the Governor of the Central Bank of Iran, Abdolnaser Hemmati, to handle oversight of bitcoin, according to the Tasnim news agency.

Calling proper management of bitcoin a “good opportunity for the country,” Farhangi warned against ceding its potential to financial institutions. “Take the issue of bitcoin seriously,” he said.

Iran has been taking crypto seriously on some fronts. Parliament moved to enact restrictive currency smuggling laws in late May. Around that time, President Hassan Rouhani ordered his government to begin devising a national crypto mining strategy and accompanying regulatory regime. The Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade also licensed Iran’s largest bitcoin mining operation in May.

But Farhangi, who sits on the Industries and Mines committee, thinks that Iran’s mining hyperfocus leaves much to be desired in its treatment of cryptocurrencies.

“We do not understand that the government has entrusted the monitoring of bitcoins to the Ministry of Industry and Mines,” he said, “because the central bank must oversee digital currencies.”

Iran has been tiptoeing towards broader cryptocurrency adoption despite signals that the Central Bank might try to ban payment via bitcoin. Some in the financially ostracized country also reportedly see cryptocurrency as a means to evade sanctions.

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