Abdol Nasser Hemmati, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), announced yesterday that the government plans to authorise the mining of digital assets in the nation. However, those running computer systems to profit from their support of cryptocurrency networks will be charged for electricity at the country’s export price rather than the cheaper, subsidised rate.
Iran has reportedly become quite the hot spot for Bitcoin mining in recent months, thanks largely to its generous electricity subsidy. There are even reports of Chinesecryptocurrency miners relocating to the country to take advantage of the cheap rates.
New Executive Law to Authorise Cryptocurrency Mining in Iran
According to a report in domestic news publication PressTV, the governor of the CBI stated yesterday that the national government has already approved sections of an executive law that would allow for the mining of cryptocurrency by Iranian citizens.
Cryptocurrency miners are always on the lookout for cheap electricity to run the required sophisticated computer systems.
Abdol Nasser Hemmati added that there would be conditions to the authorisation. Firstly, he stated that the electricity rate charged to those mining cryptocurrency would be at the nation’s export rate. This ranges from about 7c to 10c per watt. Previously, many of the nation’s digital asset miners were using the heavily subsidised rate charged to regular Iranian citizens. At just 5c per watt, it’s understandable why such a surge in the activity has been reported lately.
The second condition stated by the bank governor was that mined cryptocurrency should “be fed back to the national economic cycle.” Presumably, this is a measure intended to crack down on the Chinese miners suspected of setting up in Iran to take advantage of the low-cost energy.
Interestingly, Hemmati added that any new currencies backed by other assets – currencies, gold, or anything else – would not be permitted by the CBI.
The announcement by the Iranian central banker comes as something of a surprise given recent events in the nation. The surge in the numbers of cryptocurrency miners exploiting the subsidised power there forced authorities to launch a crackdown. In the process, they reportedly seized thousands of computer systems from factories, greenhouses, mosques, and other locations.
Perhaps more baffling is the fact that cryptocurrency trading is currently illegal in Iran. NewsBTC reported on the nation’s deputy governor for new technologies confirming as such earlier this week. Those prosecuted for the activity could serve up to five years in jail. How the newly-authorised Iranian cryptocurrency miners are supposed to sell the cryptocurrency they are rewarded is anyone’s guess.
Many analysts have previously stated that Iran could benefit from adopting a cryptocurrency as a way to counteract the US economic sanctions against it. However, judging by its stance towards the technology in recent years, the nation seems more cautious to explore this, or better at hiding it, than the likes of North Korea.
VanEck exec claims Visa, Mastercard were forced to stay away from Libra
While several dissed Facebook’s cryptocurrency venture, Libra, a few others envisioned the social media giant’s move to be a boost to the crypto-industry, due to its global reach. However, the regulatory climate that surrounds the project has been hindering its launch. Recently, the five companies that backed Libra, namely, Visa, Mastercard, eBay, Stripe and Mercado Pago, followed the footsteps of PayPal and announced that they would no longer be part of this project.
Director, Digital Assets Startegy at VanEck , Gabor Gurbacs, is the latest to comment on the issue, claiming that these companies are being urged to leave the crypto-project. He took to Twitter and said,
“Every company that is leaving #Libra is likely, in some ways, forced to do that. It’s unfortunate and I am sorry that capital markets aren’t free.
Now you have a first-hand understanding why censorship-resistance is important!
> Welcome to #Bitcoin!”
Recently, these companies received letters from a few US senators, urging them to withdraw from the project. The letter stated that if the companies didn’t steer away from the project, they would have to encounter regulatory obligations. Gurbacs addressed the same in his tweet and said that regulatory burdens have hindered these companies from experimenting and innovating. He concluded his tweet by saying,
“America can do better!”
Recently, the New York-based investment giant, VanEck, withdrew its Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund [ETF] application, a month before the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC] was scheduled to give its final verdict about the approval or rejection of the application.
Additionally, the SEC also rejected Bitwise’s application that seeked the approval of a Bitcoin ETF. The asset management platform had submitted the application back in January. However, the SEC after delaying a verdict several times over the year, has finally dismissed it.
Cryptocurrency market update: Subdued trading action continues on Sunday, XRP/USD gains traction
- Bitcoin struggles to determine its next short-term direction.
- Ethereum rebounds after posting modest losses on Saturday.
- Ripple remains on track to register weekly gains for the second straight week.
Major cryptocurrencies stay relatively calm for the second straight day on Sunday and continue to fluctuate between technical ranges in the absence of significant fundamental drivers that could impact the cryptocurrency market sentiment.
Top-3 coins price overview
Bitcoin (BTC/USD) posted small gains on Saturday and closed the $8,300 and is now moving up and down in a tight channel near that level. As of writing, the pair was up 0.5% on a daily basis at $8,345. Unless the pair advances beyond the critical 200-day moving average (MA), which is currently located at $8,700, and registers a daily close there, it is likely to have a difficult time finding its next direction.
Above the 200-day MA, $8,970/$9,000 (Fibonacci %78.6 retracement of June rally/psychological level) could be seen as the next resistance ahead of $10,000 (psychological level/Fibonacci %61.8 retracement of June rally). On the downside, the first technical support is located at $8,270 (20-day MA) before $7,700/$7,800 area (September 26th, September 30th, October 6th, October 7th low).
Ethereum (ETH/USD) lost 0.5% on a daily basis on Saturday and closed at $180. However, this move didn’t have enough momentum to suggest that sellers were looking to take control of the ETH/USD pair’s movements. In fact, the pair easily recovered Saturday’s losses on Sunday and was last seen trading near $182, adding 1.1% on the day. Looking at the near-term technical levels, $185 (50-day MA) aligns as the first hurdle on the upside before $200 (psychological level/October 11th high). Supports, on the other hand, could be seen at $177 (20-day MA), $170 (October 6th, October 7th low) and $152 (September 26th low).
After gaining nearly 2% on Saturday, Ripple (XRP/USD) is outperforming other major cryptocurrencies on Sunday as well. As of writing, the XRP/USD pair was up 1.95% on the day at $0.2783. With this weekend’s rally, the pair remains on track to gain more than 8% on a weekly basis after rising 6.3% in the previous week.
Looking at the daily chart, the Relative Strength Index indicator continues to stretch higher above the 50 mark, suggesting that bullish momentum is gathering strength. The pair could face the first resistance at $0.29 (October 9th high) ahead of $0.3 (psychological level) and $0.3270 (September 18th low). On the downside, supports are located at $0.2635 (50-day MA), $0.2125 (September 24th low) ve $0.20 (psychological level).
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SEC Looks to Suspend “Unlawfully Sold” Telegram (GRAM) Cryptocurrency
The upcoming launch of GRAM tokens has become somewhat of a spectacle for the cryptocurrency community in recent months. With final token disbursement on the horizon, the SEC has filed for emergency action against Telegram and Telegram Open Network (TON), both of whom are offshore entities to the United States. Out of the entire ordeal, the SEC’s classification of GRAM as a security is the biggest risk to the smooth launch and execution of the network, October 11, 2019.
Telegram Crackdown as Expected
Choosing to launch their network and native token without regulatory consultation was seen as a bold move from Telegram; however this appears to have backfired as the SEC has finally decided to “halt” their token offering. Nearly $1.7 billion has been raised by TON to launch a blockchain-enabled payment network that can be used over their messaging app and the scope of potential mainstream adoption is arguably on par with that of Facebook’s Libra, should that ever see the light of day.
The biggest concern for the SEC, at this point, is that GRAM tokens will be sent to respective investors before October 31, 2019. In light of this, the regulator believes this opens up the possibility of the United States market becoming a dumping ground for the tokens.
What irks the regulator the most is when companies issue tokens and don’t register them with the SEC. As the SEC describes, they allegedly evaded registration of their “security” by simply designating it as a ‘cryptocurrency’.
Veering Treatment From the Regulator
In one instance, the regulator could decide to impose a fine on a $4 billion initial coin offering (ICO) that is less than a basic business purchase and allows the project to continue working; or, they decide to completely stop the project from running in the country because they didn’t bow down to U.S. authority, which may open doors for Libra.
By the SEC’s definition, both EOS and Telegram conducted “unlawful digital token sales”. Whether EOS and GRAM are securities or not is up for debate, but that one small difference can’t possibly account for such a large deviation in their treatment.
In the age of decentralized money networks that are self-regulating, the SEC is fighting a very obvious power struggle, and they will do anything to ensure they do not lose their authority over this segment.