Every week we’ll be bringing you the highlights of Iran’s tech scene in the past week. This week, we covered the US seizing bitcoins owned by Iranian citizens, Iran digital ad market size, Telegram still being accessible in the country despite the ban and the lifting of the sanctions on China’s ZTE.

US Seized 500 Bitcoins Owned by Iranian Citizens

According to Sepehr Mohammadi, head of Iran’s Blockchain Community (IBC), over 500 bitcoins owned by Iranian citizens have been seized by the Federal government of the United States. It’s been said that these bitcoins were seized by the US due to the violation of the sanctions. 

According to Mohammadi, IBC is negotiating with several lawyers with expertise in anti-money laundering laws to follow-up this seizure, but none have accepted this project until this moment, as reported by IBENA. He added that Iran’s Cyberpolice has not taken any action towards this case since the trade of cryptocurrencies is banned in the country.  


Iran Digital Ad Expenditure in 2017 Is Estimated to Be over $68 Million

Last week, TechRasa along with its data partner, Adro published the second edition of “Iran AdTech Overview”. The report discusses the regional and global advertising scene, Iran’s Internet & mobile infrastructure, the AdTech ecosystem statistics in the country, and the local and international trends, opportunities and challenges. Iran’s digital Ad Expenditure in 2017 is estimated to be over $68 million and is forecasted to reach to over $95 million in 2018. 

This 51-page report is available for free on TechRasa. Read the full report from this link. 


Over 30 Million Iranians Are Still Accessing Telegram

According to Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, Deputy for the Iranian Prosecutor General, over 30 million and 100 thousand people in Iran are using third-party versions of Telegram despite the original app being blocked. Hotgram and Telegram Talaei are the two Iranian messaging apps that use Telegram’s API. 

Khorramabadi has criticized Iran’s ICT Ministry for allowing these two apps to freely operate while the main app is blocked in the country. According to this Iranian official, these apps prevent domestic messengers to become widely used, and they also allow foreign countries to gain access to the country’s big data, as reported by ITmen. 

Previously Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, Iran’s ICT Minister had stated that the number of users on Iranian messaging apps has reached to 7.5 million. 

Related: Iran ICT Minister: 42 to 45 Million Social Media Users in Iran 


US Lifts Bans on China’s ZTE

According to the Verge, the United States has finally lifted its trade ban on ZTE, allowing this Chinese company to once again collaborate with American software and hardware companies. “Three interlocking elements — a suspended denial order, the $400 million in escrow, and a compliance team selected by and answerable to the Department — will allow the Department to protect US national security,” said the US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, after cutting a new deal with ZTE to lift the trade ban. 

This Chinese telecom giant was hit with crippling sanctions by the US over Iran and North Korea sanction violations in 2017. A 2012 report shows that in 2011, ZTE delivered millions of dollars worth of hardware and software from American technology firms such as Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco Systems, Dell and Symantec to Iran’s largest telecom carrier, Telecommunications Company of Iran. 

Related: ZTE Expects to Pay Hefty Penalties Over Trade With Iran 

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