Bitcoin Payment System Can Help Revitalize Iran’s Economy: US Analyst
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An American political analyst said Bitcoin payment network can help the Islamic Republic of Iran develop both its domestic and foreign economy, adding that the system could “create many jobs” across the country.
“I can see the possibility over the next few years of a few hundred million or maybe a few billion dollars worth of Bitcoins and Altcoins coming into the Iranian economy. This in itself could have many positive effects for businesses and could help create many jobs throughout the country,” John Ubele said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.
Following is the full text of the interview.
Tasnim: What is Bitcoin?
Ubele: Bitcoin(BTC) is a digital currency which can also be used as a payment system. It is a decentralized system which means its accounting system/ledger also known as a blockchain is kept on thousands of computers around the world. This decentralized blockchain system helps keep Bitcoin transactions transparent and accessible to anyone who wants to access the system to look up and verify any transaction.
Tasnim: How widely is Bitcoin used?
Ubele: There are tens of thousands of businesses in different countries around the world which accept Bitcoin as payment for their goods or services. There are also many different online and brick and mortar exchanges which offer different types of fiat currency and digital currency pairings.
Tasnim: In which country is Bitcoin most popular?
Ubele: At this point in time the bulk of the world’s Bitcoin trading is done in China, but trading of Bitcoin has expanded greatly in India and Japan. A good deal of Bitcoin trading is also done in Europe.
Tasnim: Can countries use Bitcoin instead of the US dollar in international transactions?
Ubele: Yes, it is possible. Bitcoin’s market capitalization is currently about $20,000,000,000. If countries began doing large transactions, say in the hundreds of millions of dollars then this would greatly increase the demand for Bitcoins which would push its price higher. Right now the price of an individual Bitcoin is about $1,150. You can find historical price charts for Bitcoin on coinmarketcap.com.
Tasnim: How could Bitcoin help European countries become less dependent on the US dollar?
Ubele: Different European governments and businesses in different European countries could use Bitcoin as a payment system like PayPal. PayPal is a payment system which has a record of being pro-Zionist and of being anti-Iranian, anti-Palestinian, and anti-Syrian. Bitcoin doesn’t discriminate like PayPal does. The main reason for this is because the power and control of the Bitcoin system is decentralized unlike PayPal which is a company that has its power and control centralized or concentrated among a few key executives or shareholders.
Tasnim: Is Bitcoin part of a Zionist effort to gain greater control over the flow of capital around the world?
Ubele: This is an excellent question. Based on everything I know about Bitcoin and the other digital currencies (Altcoins), I would say no. The actual software which created Bitcoin is open source. This means that anyone can access it. So a person or group of people who have backgrounds in computer programming or software engineering can take this open source software and make changes to it to create their own digital currency. For example; programmers in Iran could make a digital currency indigenous to Iran.
Tasnim: How could Bitcoin help Iran?
Ubele: I believe there are many ways Bitcoin and Altcoins could significantly help people, businesses and charities there. Businesses there could sell more goods and services internationally through the internet because they could use Bitcoin as a payment system. Once businesses receive payments they wouldn’t have to worry about charge backs or like with PayPal they wouldn’t have to deal with the risk of PayPal confiscating or freezing the funds in their PayPal account. Charities in Iran could accept online donations which would increase revenue coming into these charities. Also, websites could be set up for crowdfunding efforts to restore some of the historical sites around the country.
I can see the possibility over the next few years of a few hundred million or maybe a few billion dollars worth of Bitcoins and Altcoins coming into the Iranian economy. This in itself could have many positive effects for businesses and could help create many jobs throughout the country.
Tasnim: How could a person in Iran obtain some Bitcoin?
Ubele: Probably the easiest way would be to create a free account on localbitcoins.com and then buy some online through that site. Another option is to try some of the “Bitcoin faucets” online, but these only allow you to acquire very small percentages of a Bitcoin. For people living in or near Tehran they could go to the Farhad Exchange (farhadexchange.net) and can exchange Rials for Bitcoins.
I would also recommend for people to try some of the different Bitcoin wallets(https://bitcoin.org/en/choose-your-wallet). There’s a number of different types available. Once you setup a wallet and you have a small amount of Bitcoin you should try sending small amounts of Bitcoin between different wallets. This will help a new user learn how to use the wallets and in sending and receiving Bitcoins.
Tasnim: Where do you see Bitcoin in the future?
Ubele: Bitcoin has been around since the beginning of 2009. When it first came out it was only worth about 1/100th of a penny. Now it’s worth about $1,150. One of the main reasons for its explosive increase in price has been that people like the system and more and more people are finding out about it, using it and in many cases investing in Bitcoin itself. All of this is increasing demand for it which is increasing its price.
I believe over the next 5 to 10 years we could see Bitcoin’s price hitting $5,000 or $10,000. It’s possible the price of Bitcoin could go even higher, especially if we start seeing multi-national corporations using Bitcoin for their transactions. This would increase demand significantly more from where it is now.
I think everyone should have a little bit of their savings in Bitcoin. Even if they only own $10 worth of it, it’s something. It’s very important not to put all your eggs in one basket because there are risks with Bitcoin and Altcoins, but I think a person keeping 2 or 3% of their total savings in digital currencies is pretty low risk but still has the potential to have a decent return on investment.
Tasnim: Is there anything you would like to add?
Ubele: Yes, I believe it’s important for more Iranians to learn about Bitcoin and Altcoins because they are tools which can be used to benefit Iran. Beyond that I think regulators in your country, especially in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance should understand the way that digital currencies work because just like any other tool which can be used for good, it can also be used for evil. It’s important that the government understands this technology and how to combat it if it ends up being used by malevolent individuals or nations against Iran.
The last thing I want to share is that the University of Nicosia is currently offering a free introduction to digital currencies course. I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to learn more about Bitcoin and Altcoins. I had taken this course a few months ago and I have to say I learned a great deal from it.