Iran should engage in large-scale Bitcoin mining and could use digital assets to circumvent international sanctions, according to the research arm of the Iranian President's office.
Local news outlet IranWire reported on March 2nd that the Iranian Presidential Center for Strategic Studies has published a research report suggesting that the country should leverage Bitcoin and other digital assets. The report explains that cryptocurrency mining could help the country circumvent sanctions:
As the newly-extracted Bitcoins are not easily traceable, [...] despite the pressure of sanctions on the country, domestic economic actors can use newly-extracted cryptocurrencies, which are preferable to existing Bitcoins, on international exchanges.
The report estimates that digital asset mining could earn the Iranian government $2 million per day and $700 million in a year. Bitcoin mining fees paid by users when sending on-chain transactions could allegedly net another $22 million per year. The report also suggests that establishing cryptocurrency mining facilities would help increase Iranian employment rates, and estimates that mining facilities could create nine jobs per megawatt of electricity consumption:
If large mining farms are established, [...] the need to employ manpower for monitoring and repair, security, electrical engineers and technical staff related to hardware and software equipment will increase, which leads to more job opportunities in other sectors.
The research report states that a regulated crypto industry would allow Iran to decrease the amount of foreign currency that leaves the country by allowing the country's citizens to directly purchase digital assets using local fiat currency, instead of trading on a foreign exchange. A government-backed Bitcoin industry would also reportedly enable Iran to offer the technical and engineering services needed for cryptocurrency mining and even obtain investment from abroad while decreasing its reliance on foreign currencies.
The report follows a recent crackdown on Bitcoin mining operations after blackouts in Tehran.