It’s a scary time in the world when the U.S. starts a new drumbeat of war. It may end up being bluster, but President Donald Trump has suggested Iran might face its “official end,” after a rocket attack nearly hit the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, with Iranian backed militia’s blamed for the incident. As a result, the cryptocurrency market in Iran is ramping up.
Although the Bitcoin Core (BTC) market has recovered worldwide in recent weeks, possibly due to market manipulation, it hasn’t surged anywhere quite as much as it has in Iran. The Bitcoinist notes that the country hit its highest mark for volume since January 2018. On LocalBitcoins alone, 45 billion IRR ($1.35 million) worth of BTC was traded in one week.
Iran, much like other states that are being sanctioned by the U.S., has been no stranger to cryptocurrencies. In January, Tehran announced a plan to turn to a state-backed stablecoin to help with international bank payments. They’ve also considered using cryptocurrency to help boost tourism, in an effort to save the economy.
None of that will help citizens in the here and now, though. The rial-backed stablecoin wasn’t designed for them, it’s for international trade, and tourists won’t be coming if bombs start falling. So thus, the panicked turn to BTC. History shows they have reason to worry too.
After the U.S. invaded Iraq successfully in 2003, the Iraqi Dinar, which was already hyper inflated from years of sanctions and bad economic policies, was seen as nearly useless by businesses in the country. Even to this day, investment scams insist that if you buy a truck-full of dinars, the country will eventually be revalue the currency, making investors rich. That hasn’t happened, and anyone holding dinars is mostly holding worthless paper.
A lot of terrible things could happen as a result of a U.S.-Iran war, and economic destruction of the country is a likely result no matter how it shakes out. Although BTC hasn’t proven to show much utility, and varies wildly in price as a result of market manipulation, it’s an understandable, if sadly pathetic, thing to see the country flocking to it.
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