Senior figures in Iran's government are reportedly debating a possible move to ban Telegram's messaging app, in part over fears its new token could undermine the national currency.
Telegram is widely used in Iran and is already frowned upon by some government members for its claimed role in the organization of protests in the country in December 2017.
Following a recent record-breaking initial coin offering (ICO) in which Telegram has already raised $1.7 billion, the company has plans to use the funds to develop an ambitious blockchain platform aimed to decentralize aspects of digital communication and which will be powered by its own "gram" token.
According to U.S.-based news site Al-Monitor, Hassan Firouzabadi, secretary of the country's High Council for Cyberspace, yesterday pushed for Telegram to be blocked in Iran on state TV, saying the firm's dominance in Iran was "the enemy of the private sector" and adding:
On March 31, according to the news source, parliament member Alaeddin Boroujerdi said the move to block the messaging app "was a decision made at the highest levels, and Telegram will be replaced by a domestic app."
In response, Iran's moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, was quoted as saying at a meeting of government officials: “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.”
Rouhani was also cited as saying by Jalal Mirzaei MP, “Nobody is opposed to breaking Telegram’s monopoly, but blocking Telegram is not the solution for creating [and enhancing] local messaging applications.”
Hassan Rouhani image via Shutterstock
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.