Image Credit: Schiphol
A video showing what is supposedly Iran’s first Bitcoin ATM has come out on Twitter. Malaysia-based investor Mansour Ghandi posted the video of the cash machine. The footage shows the ATM with logos for Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Ripple (XRP) on the side of the cabinet.
A study by Coin ATM Radar shows that there are over 4273 Bitcoin and crypto ATMS around the world. The number has risen by a huge 750% since 2016, in comparison to a mere 501 ATMS. The first week of 2019 saw 34 Bitcoin ATMs being installed. Moreover, there are 75 separate countries which have Bitcoin ATMs. Implying that in total 60 % of the countries in the world have a Bitcoin ATM. Further, there are over 42 producers of crypto ATMs round the globe and 527 Bitcoin ATM operators.
Few days back, a group of Iranian Banks launched Paymon- a gold backed digital currency. This was after Islamic Republic’s announcement of easing financial restrictions. The currency has been developed by four banks namely- Bank Melli Iran, Bank Mellat Bank Pasargad and Parsian Bank. The introduction of regulations by Iran has been widely interpreted as a strategic move to escape US sanctions. The sanctions against Iran involve a ban on all economic activities.
The ban extends to restrictions on importing aircraft arms and embargoes. Also, it restricts major Iranian financial institutions from conducting business globally. However, with Iran controlling a cryptocurrency will easily allow it to play foul and bypass certain restrictions. Most importantly, the ban on buying US dollars.
The primary reason being offered for imposing bans is that Iran sponsors terrorism. Yet, it is not a false supposition that an average person well aware of geopolitics and mideast diplomacy can easily figure out the neo- imperial motives of USA.
Undoubtedly, Iran is moving steadily towards crypto adoption but is this move solely for escaping sanctions, only time will tell.