As an Iranian, Crypto has changed the life of Iranians for good. Especially during COVID-19
Seeing the post about Iran officially considering farming Bitcoin, I felt motivated to make this post as an Iranian. Cryptocurrency has changed the dynamics in Iran. The Iranian government’s view on it has been quite lax compared to neighboring countries or other Muslim countries. There was either support for it or it was simply ignored since you couldn’t really spend it on anything. On top of that, given the fact that Iran is disconnected from international banking, there was less concern from Iranian banks. (A bit ignorant, but I am not complaining)
But things have changed drastically over the past few years. The increased sanctions and COVID-19 have brought a lot more people towards crypto, including me. Crypto has a unique situation in Iran, which I will try to explain briefly. The Iranian currency is currently the cheapest in the world (or one of the cheapest, as it's unstable and, can change daily). So if someone can earn dollars and spend it in Iran, they are going to profit a lot. We are talking close to a 25x increase. This makes farming insanely profitable. Because you are going to pay for your electricity in Iranian currency, but you are earning dollars because the crypto exchange rate is based on western currencies, not Iranian. So electricity is dirt cheap, to begin with, but you can get it even cheaper.
There are ways to get free electricity in Iran. The government subsidizes businesses that have high electricity usage, so they get publicly funded electricity. So the owner of these businesses makes deals with individuals to buy the hardware needed to farm currency (because the initial cost is very high due to currency difference), and usually, one person with contacts overseas becomes the “broker” to be able to turn these cryptos into tangible money. People without these businesses tend to form farming communities where they work together to discreetly farm and turn crypto into actual currency and due to the fact that a lot of people are dealing in crypto now, you can actually find a lot of buyers locally and don’t even need to sell it to foreigners.
So, this way crypto got introduced into society and a lot of people use it. Usually not as an investment, but as a currency you used to spend on things. Because in order to make an international purchase, you need to abuse a lot of loopholes, such as VPNs, middlemen and exchange rates. But now I can simply buy steam gift cards with bitcoin and use them to buy games. This applies to any international purchase. $60 games used to cost a fortune, like an entire minimum wage income in Iran. Now they are widely available if you have crypto.
The usual mishandling of the Iranian government regarding the economy is bad enough, but in recent years, sanctions and COVID-19 have made it a three-way hell. My life personally was hell because I could not make any international purchase and I could barely make ends meet. Crypto is so empowering. I am basically able to earn and spend money, despite the efforts of both the Iranian and American governments. In order to put things in perspective, I can use myself as an example. I am a lawyer, and I earn more money from farming than I do to practice law. I am still working, but crypto is a great secondary income that I can use to make international purchases without having to pay half of my income for a $100 purchase. We are still in bad conditions, but crypto provides a lifeline. At least for now.
I am grateful for cryptocurrency and this community because the livelihood of many people in Iran relies on crypto and information about it. Most people involved in the crypto trade in Iran don’t even speak English but know that an entire country is thankful for it, and the value of crypto could not be clearer. An entire people neglected by their own government and sanctioned by half the world left to basically starve and live in terrible conditions, continue to go on. In large part, thanks to cryptocurrencies. We practically have the power to defy the strongest governments in the world, the next step is THE MOON.