Iranian Cyberspace Authority: Telegrams Crypto Might Threaten National Currency
Iranian High Council of Cyberspace secretary (HCC) supports Telegram potential ban in the country. This is under the argument that its recent ICO is “undermining Iran’s national currency.” This is according to Al-Monitor which is a local news outlet on April 3.
According to the source, the telegram ban discussion started from the desire of supporting the local applications and also the national security concerns. They thought that this could be used for protests, for instance, what happened in 2017 Iran demonstrations.
Hassan Firouzabadi who is the HCC secretary which is an organization dealing with policy-making which has members who are appointed by Ali Khamenei who is a supreme leader except for the secretary who is appointed by the president – agrees on the ban because telegram has the potential to bring cryptocurrency to all users.
Firouzabadi further said that telegram was the enemy of the private sector citing that telegram does not have an office in Iran.
“Telegram is not a dominant messenger in any country except for Iran. … A telegram has officially announced that it will be used as an economic platform, and Telegram will undermine the national currency of Iran.”
Additionally, in accordance with the source, Firouzabadi fears for lack of regulation of cryptocurrencies as one of the issues with letting telegram to continue functioning.
“We predict that this [virtual] money’s lifetime is 10 years, and during this period, approximately $50 billion will be withdrawn from the country. But if the price of [this virtual money] declines overnight, people will protest [and ask] why there wasn’t any monitoring of it.”
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani is one of the biggest opposers of the telegram, and according to a local news outlet called Tasnim News Agency, Rouhani thinks that monopoly should end other than banning one application:
“Having strong, secure and cheaply priced Iranian messaging applications that can solve people’s needs and problems will surely make everyone proud. The goal of creating and enhancing Iranian software and messaging apps should not be blocking access [to other apps], but [the goal] should be the elimination of monopolies.”
Firouzabadi additionally said that even if they are accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, they are closely working with the central bank of Iran to make sure that the cryptocurrencies are regulated. Telegram currently has raised $850 million token sale rounds meant to support their upcoming Blockchain technology.