According to Iran’s ICT Minister, the Central Bank of Iran will be in charge of making decisions over Telegram’s cryptocurrency (Gram) in the country.
In early January it was announced that Telegram has plans to launch its own blockchain platform and cryptocurrency. Telegram Open Network (TON) will introduce a new generation of cryptocurrency which would allow payments over this popular messaging app. Some sources have estimated that Telegram has already raised over a billion dollars in a pre-sale of its cryptocurrency to a number of investors. Telegram’s public ICO is expected to take place in the upcoming months.
On Saturday, during an online press conference, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, Iran’s ICT Minister stated that the Central Bank of Iran will be in charge of making any decisions regarding Telegram’s cryptocurrency and its activities in Iran. According to Jahromi, just like Telegram’s voice call feature which was blocked due to the judicial decision, the same could happen for this app’s digital currency. “If the Central Bank reaches a conclusion in which the activities of Telegram’s digital currency is malicious, it must be announced to the authorities in order to prevent it, and we will implement this judicial decision without any omission,” said Jahromi.
Some Iranian authorities are not quite fond of the activities of Telegram in Iran. This app has over 40 million users in Iran and is considered by far the most used social media/messaging app in the country with 6 out of 10 Iranians being a user. A spokesman of the Iranian parliament had previously stated that if the app does not comply with the law, it would be replaced by the alternatives.
In January, Iranian authorities temporarily blocked this app for a few days, but it caused many complaints since thousands of online businesses are built over this messaging app.
Recently the Basij Organization Commander of the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology said that 180 thousand Iranian families are making direct income from Telegram. The Iranian government has been trying to replace or spread the mass number of users to other messaging apps and has been giving million dollar grants to local messaging apps.