Posted 3 years ago | by Ben Armstrong
Bitcoin Catches On in Iran
According to a recent survey, 25% of 1,650 Iranian bitcoiners earned $500 to $3,000 a month from working with cryptocurrency.
This data offers a surprising glimpse into the evolution of the Iranian bitcoin community, and the initial conclusion is that the classic “store of value” investment thesis proves relevant.
Of those polled, 35% earned income by mining, while 58 % earned income through trading. The trading was conducted via both exchange platforms and grassroots networks of local money changers, providing liquidity with Iranian riyals.
Iran Embraces BTC
In addition to the above statistics, the survey indicates strong growth in the domestic mining industry, with 70% of respondents expressing interest in learning more about local mining businesses.
In this rare view into the Iranian crypto market, a shift from global exchange platforms to local exchanges and miners can be observed.
This shift is due to the fact that most centralized exchanges with know-your-customer compliance exclude Iranians. In the opinion of 83 % of survey respondents, the community needs more robust access to exchanges in order to grow.
In the interim, many Iranians are using VPNs and purchasing foreign ID cards on the black market to circumnavigate discrimination.
The Iranian climate of censorship has separated local demand from global factors such as dollar prices, the gold market or even local stock markets. 60 % of respondents said such external conditions had little or no impact on their bitcoin investments.
Most respondents were long-term holders, investing in bitcoin with the intention to hold it for more than a year.
Of the survey respondents, 29 % hold more than $5,000 worth of crypto, mostly bitcoin. Compared to statistics from a 2018 survey, which featured predominantly American and European bitcoin users, Iranians are storing significantly more wealth in bitcoin.
Although 63 % of the 2018 respondents held more than $5,000 in crypto, Iranians are storing a higher concentration of their wealth.
Real Options for Global Connections
Such an example is Tehran-based blockchain developer Mahmoud Eskandari. He holds bitcoin, liquidates various cryptos, and sends bitcoin to Iranian students abroad to help pay their expenses.
Bitcoin developer and educator Jimmy Song stated that he has seen similar developments in other regions, particularly in China, where there are WeChat groups for traders. He also noted that demand for Bitcoin will be felt more in distressed economies because the impact of inflation is more immediate.