The governor of the Central Bank of Iran has warned against investing in cryptocurrencies especially bitcoin which has seen a relentless rise in value in recent weeks.
“The Central Bank is giving people necessary warnings about buying and selling these currencies and, at the same time, it is trying to establish relative security in this regard,” Valiollah Seif said in remarks quoted by Iran Book News Agency (IBNA) on Saturday.
The virtual currency’s stratospheric rise in value has generated a surge of interest around the world, prompting governments to unveil regulatory measures in some countries. Others, such as Iran, have not adopted a clear position yet on transactions involving digital coins.
According to Tasnim news agency, trading in bitcoins is becoming more and more popular in Iran where some currency exchange shops are already buying and selling them and people are showing great interest due to the profitability and rapid rise in the value of the cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin prices soared to a record high of $19,500 this month before losing 40% of its value. Despite a boom in trade, cryptocurrencies have no intrinsic value because they are not backed by any assets.
Analysts and governments have warned of a bubble which could burst at any moment and some of them have likened trading in bitcoins to Ponzy schemes.
In the absence of a clear strategy, Shapoor Mohammadi, head of Securities and Exchange Organization of Iran which is the supervisory authority of the country’s financial market, has banned brokers from trading in bitcoins.
“The Securities and Exchange Organization is reviewing the status of bitcoin for entry into the country’s economy but it has not come up yet with a conclusion; so any engagement in such trade by brokers will be a violation,” he said.
“As for trading in cryptocurrencies, we are warning people that if they are defrauded or make a loss from a drop in bitcoin prices, no entity will be liable for it,” the Central Bank’s deputy for modern technologies Naser Hakimi said.