Telegram is an encrypted messaging app. According to a Report by Tehran Times, Iran has banned the use of Telegram’s cryptocurrency. This comes as further attempt by the Iranian government to limit the growth of cryptocurrency industry in the country. The country bans access to Telegram after the platform’s billion dollar token sale.
Any support and cooperation with Telegram to launch its cryptocurrency, Gram is considered a threat to the national security by the Iranian government says; Javad Javidnia, Secretary of Criminal Content Definition Task Force. Moreover, the authorities will also see the offense as a disruption to the national economy.
“One of the most important factors in banning Telegram was a sense of serious economic threat from its activities, which was unfortunately marginalized and neglected due to the fuss in the political atmosphere of the country,” Javidnia stated.
The government of Iran still remains very hostile towards cryptocurrency development and even social media. In December 2017, the country’s authorities temporarily blocked public access of Telegram along with the photo-sharing app Instagram after a mass protest to ‘maintain peace’. Before then, in April 2017, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, barred all government officials from using the Telegram messaging app, which was followed by a similar order from the country’s judiciary.
Telegram, in early 2018, announced the development of a blockchain-based platform called Telegram Open Network. Later it raised around $1.7 billion in two private token sales rounds.
Telegram’s shift towards blockchain has raised concerns among Iranian officials. They believed that the platform, by introducing cryptocurrency in the country, could potentially ‘undermine the national currency of Iran.’
The global cryptocurrency community favor Telegram, because of its privacy features. Russia, in 2018, also banned the platform citing concerns over its hyped ICO.
Despite the anti-crypto stance of Iran, digital assets are very popular among a large number of its population. As reported by Finance Magnates earlier, many Iranians are adopting cryptocurrencies to mitigate the damaging effects to the country’s economy by years of US sanctions. Moreover, reports showed that the country is also considering the idea of introducing a national cryptocurrency.