Tensions with Iran may be behind U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s cryptocurrency compliance comments on Wednesday.
The New York Times reported the Trump administration “has expressed growing concern” that this technology is being used to “evade American sanctions on countries like Iran.”
Earlier this week, the Parliament of Iran Research Center published a report suggesting cryptocurrency mining licenses issued in January could generate new tax revenue and bureaucratic fees. A related proposal by the same government-run center suggested this could bring the government upwards of $1 billion in annual revenue from the domestic cryptocurrency mining industry, which is estimated to be valued at $8.5 billion.
The report also recommends allocating a portion of the Iranian government’s 2021 budget to cryptocurrency mining, though the specifics of that proposal are unclear.
In short, if the Trump administration is trying to starve the Iranian regime into submission, bitcoin (BTC) may give the Islamic Republic a lifeline.
In July, Mnuchin referred to Facebook’s proposed Libra stablecoin as a “national security issue,” citing concerns about terror financing and money laundering.
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.