LocalBitcoins bans users in Iran amidst global tensions

Peer-to-peer Bitcoin Core (BTC) marketplace LocalBitcoins has ceased its operations in Iran. The platform, which is considered to be a popular P2P BTC marketplace globally, didn’t disclose the reasons for the exit. The move comes at a time when the crypto industry in Iran has been booming.

On its Iranian page, the platform has posted a message stating:

‘Unfortunately LocalBitcoins is currently not available in your selected region. Please look for other location or come back later.’

While LocalBitcoins is yet to come out and address the issue, speculation has been rife. According to one source who talked to Cointelegraph, the company banned Iranian users so as to comply with regulations in Finland, the country in which it’s based.

Furthermore, the tension between Iran and the United States hasn’t helped the matter. Some global giants have scaled down their operations in Iran, or left altogether, as the U.S. imposes strict sanctions on the oil-rich country. They include Siemens, Daimler and Deutsche Bahn. Crypto exchanges are also following suit, with Binance, Shapeshift, Coinbase and Bittrex being among the exchanges that have already exited the country. LocalBitcoins could also have considered this before deciding to pull out.

LocalBitcoins has reportedly made it known to some of its Iranian users that its services are no longer available in their country. According to a screenshot of a purported email from the company’s customer support, the users can withdraw the tokens but can’t trade.

The ban comes at a time when Iranians have taken to cryptos, with the Iranian rial’s BTC volume being at its highest since the 2017 bull run. With the U.S. sanctions having an adverse effect on international trade, Iranians had turned to paying in cryptos, a dream that’s slowly fading away.

Since President Trump announced that he would impose sanctions on Iran, the country’s rial has dropped 70% in value. This has forced many citizens to turn to cryptos as a safer asset during the uncertain times. A report by Al Jazeera revealed that Iranians are increasingly having more faith in cryptos than in their own currency.

In the past, the have been reports that the country is developing its own state-backed cryptocurrency. In doing so, it would follow in the footsteps of Venezuela which has its own Petro crypto.

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