Iran’s Use of Bitcoin to Avoid Sanctions May Fuel U.S. Regulatory Crackdown

The crypto markets have been flooded with a torrent of news regarding how top government officials in the US feel about Bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrencies, with U.S. President Donald Trump saying that he is “not a fan” while his Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, explained that crypto is a “national security” issue.

Now, countries that are under heavy sanctions from the US are increasingly turning to Bitcoin in an effort to bypass these sanctions, which may fan the flames that move US regulatory authorities to implement heavy regulations on the crypto markets.

Iran Turns to Bitcoin as Sanctions Mount

It’s no secret that Iran is one country that has been subjected to a deluge of sanctions that have suffocated its economy. Although the Middle Eastern country had made some progress to have some of these sanctions lifted under the Obama administration, much of this was undone in the past few years under the Trump administration.

Many policy experts and officials within the US government are growing increasingly concerned with just how much power Bitcoin could grant rogue and potentially dangerous regimes, and one official within the US Treasury Department recently explained that exchanges must stop countries that are under sanctions from utilizing crypto.

“As Iran becomes increasingly isolated and desperate for access to U.S. dollars, it is vital that virtual currency exchanges, peer-to-peer exchangers and other providers of digital currency services harden their networks against these illicit schemes,” Sigal Mandelker, the Treasury department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said while speaking to the AP.

Will Iran Fuel a US Regulatory Crackdown? 

Importantly, bourgeoning concerns about regimes utilizing Bitcoin and other cryptos to bypass sanctions comes at a time where the government is growing increasingly interested in slapping regulations on the domestic crypto markets in the US.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, during a recent press conference, dubbed crypto a “national security” concern, and further added that the government is planning on regulating BTC and the markets to combat illicit transactions.

“I want to be careful that anybody who’s using bitcoin — regardless of what the price is — is using it for proper purposes and not illicit purposes. And there are billions of dollars of transactions going on in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for illicit purposes,” he explained.

Although it is unclear as to just how many of BTC’s transactions are truly conducted for illicit purposes, it is clear that the government is concerned with how much power Bitcoin could grant tyrannical regimes and criminals, which likely signals that a massive influx of fresh regulatory policies is just around the corner.

Featured image from Shutterstock.
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