A group of Iranian banks has launched a cryptocurrency after the Islamic Republic announced it was relaxing financial restrictions.
The gold-backed digital currency PayMon (meaning ‘covenant’ in Persian) was unveiled by Iranian company Kuknos in a ceremony at the end of January.
It was developed by Kuknos and four banks – Bank Mellat, Bank Melli Iran, Bank Pasargad, and Parsian Bank.
The Central Bank of Iran’s draft document reverses a previous blanket ban, but still keeps a tight rein on the use of digital cash.
The bank also recognised and authorised global and regional cryptocurrencies and ICOs, wallets, and mining.
Iran’s move towards cryptocurrency is widely interpreted as a way of getting around US economic sanctions.
In May last year, the United States pulled out of a deal to lift sanctions against Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear programme – a deal US President Donald Trump has repeatedly blasted.
Iran controlling a cryptocurrency would allow it to bypass certain measures, such as a ban on buying US dollars.
In November, Iranian banks were barred from SWIFT, the global messaging system that allows cross-border payments.
Tensions have risen since the US withdrew from the 2015 Iran deal.
America’s rivals are exploiting Bitcoin-style cryptocurrencies to get around US sanctions.
Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela are all investing in the tech in an attempt to counter US economic might.